VW & Hamburg extend mobility partnership
The three-year strategic mobility partnership between Volkswagen and the City of Hamburg concluded in August 2016 has been extended. The most important news within the framework of the extension is that the WeShare car-sharing service will expand to Hamburg from spring next year.
So far, WeShare had only been active in Berlin, but the planned expansion to Hamburg was already announced in the summer – though without further details. A fleet of more than 1,000 e-golf and e-up e-cars is planned for launch in the northern Germany harbour city. In the further course of the year, the first ID.3 cars will be added in Hamburg and Berlin.
However, there are still some unanswered questions about the WeShare launch in Hamburg, such as the exact business area – this has only been loosely described as being a “competitive business area”. There are also no statements for Hamburg regarding special charging partnerships, such as with the Schwarz Group in Berlin.
Nevertheless, VW is satisfied with what has been achieved within the framework of the project launched in 2016. “Over the last three years we have trialled and implemented numerous projects in the city,” says Jürgen Rittersberger, Head of the General Secretariat and Group Strategy of the Volkswagen Group. “For example, we have tested autonomous driving and parking, put MOIA on the road, and forged ahead with electrification.”
The city has also drawn a positive balance from the partnership to date. “Volkswagen’s engagement in the field of urban mobility helps us lower traffic emissions, introduce new alternative mobility services and gather experience in shaping tomorrow’s mobility,” says Hamburg’s Senator for Economics, Transport and Innovation, Michael Westhagemann. “All of this supports our ambition to be a model city for future urban mobility.”
There are concrete plans to increase the fleet of the all-electric Moia ridepooling service in Hamburg from 200 to 500 vehicles. The expansion of the fleet was highly controversial, and in the meantime even a court has imposed a limit of 200 vehicles. Volkswagen has not given a timetable for the proposed expansion.
In the meantime, however, it seems clear that the Moia managers can continue to concentrate on Hamburg’s expansion. According to a media report, VW has stopped its expansion into other cities, leaving Moia only active in Hamburg and Hanover. “We don’t want any hasty expansion. We don’t want to scale losses and mistakes, but success”, Moia boss Robert Henrich is said to have explained at the congress “Mobility Circle” in Hamburg.
The mobility partnership will not be limited to passenger cars or sharing services: MAN will also deliver 20 electric buses to the Hamburg Transport Association (HVV) by the end of next year. These are smaller buses of the MAN Lion’s City E type. In addition, a second-life storage at the VHH depot is to be connected to the depot’s charging network in order to test under real conditions how used batteries behave after their first use in the vehicle and during stationary use.
In the future, VW subsidiaries will also participate in the partnership. Audi had already tested in Hamburg how the flow of traffic can be improved by intelligently networking vehicles and traffic lights. In the German carmaking city of Ingolstadt, the “Audi Traffic Light Information” service has been available in new series models since the summer. Further German cities are to be connected to the series service. This also includes Hamburg.
volkswagen-newsroom.com, businessinsider.de (Moia in German)