WeShare, Volkswagen and Škoda’s car sharing service, is to expand into seven further cities in Germany and other European countries in 2020. Prague and Hamburg in the early part of the year are to be followed by Paris, Madrid, Budapest, Munich and Milan throughout 2020.
WeShare is a free-floating service, meaning there are no fixed collection points to which cars have to be taken and returned, and in all these cities, the company will be offering an all-electric fleet with a total of about 8,400 electric vehicles. In Prague and Budapest, WeShare will cooperate with Škoda. In the other major cities, WeShare vehicles on offer will include Volkswagen’s e-Golf and e-up! as well as the ID.3. WeShare started operations in Berlin with 1,500 e-Golf cars in 2019 and the company now has 50,000 registered customers in the city.
“For us, 2020 will be a year of dramatic growth,” says Philipp Reth, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of WeShare. “We are convinced that all-electric free-floating car sharing will be a significant, scalable transitional element in the field of sustainable, shared mobility for a considerable time on the way to automated transport systems.”
In Berlin, where WeShare was launched in June 2019, about 50,000 customers are now registered for the service. About three-quarters of these registered customers are active users.
“In comparison with the sector as a whole, this figure is very high and shows that WeShare is highly relevant for people’s urban mobility,” said Reth.
Over the past six months, the WeShare fleet in Berlin has completed more than three million kilometres, which corresponds to an average of four to five trips per car and day.
While the EV market is growing in Europe, one of the major challenges faced by WeShare in Berlin is battery charging. To compensate for what the companies say is the inadequate availability of public charging infrastructure, Volkswagen and WeShare have started cooperation with the Schwarz Group, which owns the Lidl and Kaufland retailers, and is installing 140 public charging stations at 60 Lidl and 10 Kaufland supermarket locations in Berlin. WeShare can use the charging stations for its car sharing fleet on an exclusive basis outside the opening hours of the stores. During opening hours in the daytime, the charging stations are available to all customers of Lidl and Kaufland. In addition to the Schwarz Group, WeShare plans to establish further partnerships with a view to expanding the available infrastructure.