VW to launch electric car-sharing WeShare in Hamburg

Volkswagen will launch its WeShare offer with 800 electric cars in Hamburg next week after having to postpone the launch due to the pandemic several times. Initially, WeShare will distribute 400 ID.3 before reaching the final fleet size of 800 vehicles in April.

At launch, VW is also offering WeShare customers a discounted offer: Those who register by 24 February, one day before the launch, will receive a credit of 15 euros and WeShare+ functions for free for one month. This is WeShare’s subscription offer: for a monthly fee of 9.90 euros, customers receive a discount on minute, stopover and daily fares as well as 50 additional free kilometres for the daily flat rate. According to WeShare CEO Philipp Reth, the offer is already worthwhile from three bookings per month.

The Hamburg business area covers around 100 square kilometres, which lie exclusively north of the Elbe river. In the west, the business area extends to Osdorf (Hamburg-Blankenese, -Iserbrook or even -Sülldorf are therefore excluded), in the east to Billstedt. In the south, the city port borders the area, in the north Fuhlsbüttel. With this, WeShare wants to reach about half of Hamburg’s population. According to Reth, extensions are possible, but depend on further needs analyses.

One exception is the airport, which is a separate area. An airport fee of seven euros is to be due for drivers heading there. In return, however, WeShare offers 40 signposted parking spaces where customers can park and rent vehicles. Access to the parking spaces (and billing of the airport fee) is done automatically via number plate recognition.

After the 2019 launch in Berlin, WeShare wanted to start in Hamburg in 2020, but had repeatedly postponed the step due to the Corona pandemic. VW brand manager Ralf Brandstätter justifies that the service is now being launched in Hamburg despite the restrictions that are still in place with the experience gained in Berlin. “We see the additional need for mobility in times of pandemic to move around the city in a car,” Brandstätter said. “We also saw that in Berlin in 2020 – after a drop in the first wave, bookings increased significantly.”

In Berlin, WeShare has more than 100,000 registered customers, of which more than 90 per cent are active – more than half of them at least once a month. “We are very satisfied with the demand,” says Reth. His goal: WeShare aims to reach a total of 200,000 registered customers by the end of 2021, including 50,000 new customers in Hamburg.

While around 1,500 e-Golf and only around 100 ID.3 will be used in Berlin, the fleet in Hamburg will consist exclusively of ID.3 vehicles with the 58-kWh battery, which offers a standard range of 425 kilometers.

Charging cooperation with Moia and Lidl

WeShare wants to avoid one important criticism of electric car car sharing in Hamburg. “We don’t want to burden the existing public charging infrastructure” says Reth. “We want to bring the charging infrastructure or build it ourselves.” At launch, eight fast-charging points are available at the Moia hub (once the Moia service starts up again, these charging points will have to be shared with the ride-sharing vans), and VW has also entered into a cooperation with the Schwarz Group, as in Berlin: A total of five AC and five DC charging points have been set up in the parking lots of five Lidl stores. These are available to Lidl customers during the day; outside business hours, the WeShare ID.3s are to be recharged there. Practice will then show how well this works.

VW brand CEO Brandstätter sees electric car-sharing as a good way to “break down pretenses and bring people closer to the technology.” “Despite climate change, we want to continue to offer individual mobility to many people,” says Brandstätter. “With WeShare, it’s possible to experience an electric car without having to buy your own.”

WeShare is to be linked to the “HVV switch” mobility portal in Hamburg, so that customers can plan their journeys using different modes of transport. A letter of intent has already been signed, says Reth. “There are still technical tasks that need to be solved,” says the WeShare CEO. “But the clear goal is for WeShare to become part of the Hamburg Switch world.” The ridesharing service Moia has already been integrated for some time.

Reporting by Sebastian Schaal, Germany.

Source: Press release via Email


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