Many EV fanatics look forward to Tesla’s Robotaxi service. For some people, it’s a big deal because they put in for a dozen Cybertrucks and hope to run their own fleet. For others, they think it will transform urban and suburban mobility. For Tesla itself, it could open up a new revenue stream for Full Self Driving. Tesla wins either way, because they could field their own vehicles or field customer-owned vehicles.
But, this end-to-end vertically-integrated way of doing business isn’t the only way. A press release from Volkswagen a few weeks ago shows us that electrification and eventually autonomous vehicles will also get fielded through partnerships.
The Volkswagen Group is progressing its transformation into a mobility provider and has partnered with car sharing company MILES Mobility. To do this, MILES Mobility acquired UMI Urban Mobility International GmbH from Volkswagen Passenger Cars. This gives them the WeShare car sharing business which they will integrate into their existing portfolio.
“New mobility services such as car subscription models and car sharing are enjoying strong demand. This is a trend in which we would like to participate more. With a strong partner to operate the fleet and with vehicles from various Volkswagen Group brands, car sharing will become available to an even broader spectrum of customers. We are pleased to have found the perfect partner in MILES, whose portfolio will be bookable via the Volkswagen mobility platform. WeShare customers will then benefit from car sharing services in eight German cities,” says Dr. Christian Dahlheim, Chairman of the Board of Volkswagen Financial Services AG, which holds consolidated responsibility for the Volkswagen Group’s core activities in the field of mobility solutions.
Both parties have agreed not to reveal the purchase amount. Furthermore, as part of the new partnership, MILES has ordered more than 10,000 all-electric vehicles from Audi, Seat/Cupra and Volkswagen Passenger Cars brands–slated for delivery starting 2023. By doing this, Volkswagen can take advantage of the rapidly growing market. for new mobility services while giving its customers plenty of choice.
MILES is operational in Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Duisburg, Hamburg, Cologne, Munich and Potsdam. Two more sites will be opened in Brussels and Ghent by fall of 2022. We plan to evolve the MILES fleet along with the electrification process of Volkswagen Group. WeShare operates 2,000 all-electric Volkswagen ID.3 and ID.4 vehicles at its locations in Berlin and Hamburg, with a total of more than 200,000 users. The MILES fleet currently consists of over 9,000 vehicles – 70 percent supplied by the Volkswagen Group.
“The electrification of the fleet is a key pillar of the MILES strategy on the path to sustainable urban transportation.” said Oliver Mackprang, CEO of MILES Mobility GmbH. “With the acquisition of WeShare and its integration into the MILES ecosystem, we are making a significant step in the right direction. We are pleased to expand our long-standing collaboration with the Volkswagen Group through this mobility partnership.”
Recently, the Volkswagen Group acquired car rental company Europcar with its partners Attestor and Pon Holding. This will be yet another key aspect of Volkswagen’s future mobility platform. The objective is to provide customers with a broad spectrum of different mobility services–from car sharing for mere hours to subscribing for a vehicle for several months. The platform will also be available to providers from outside the Volkswagen Group, such as MILES, in order to create economies of scale and customer benefits. This way, the Group can participate in the growing markets for mobility services that are present worldwide.
Featured image provided by Volkswagen.
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