Volkswagen is launching a car-sharing program in the German city of Hanover, dubbing the enterprise “Quicar – Share a Volkswagen.” Initial plans call for 200 VW Golf BlueMotions to be available at 50 locations throughout Hanover, and the picture above seems to indicate something’s afoot with the latest Beetle, too. Other than the fuel-efficient fleet, Volkswagen is following a similar model to that of Zipcar, in which program members can book time in a car over the internet, through a mobile app, or by phone. Once signed up for wheel time, a member goes to the location where the car they booked is parked and swipes a card over a reader affixed to the vehicle, which unlocks the doors. The user then enters a PIN on the car’s touch screen, and uses a key stored in the car to start the engine and drive off. Interestingly, customers will be issued an SD memory card, onto which they can save navigation destinations and routes, or even music, to be read by the cars’ nav and audio system.
Volkswagen is the third German automaker to start a car-sharing service; Mercedes-Benz launched Car2Go in Vancouver and BMW partnered with Sixt AG to start DriveNow in Munich and Berlin. Volkswagen hopes to expand the number of locations from 50 to 100 locations in the “medium term.” Within the same neither-large-nor-small term, VW may also add the Beetle plus the Caddy to the program’s fleet. The whole shebang gets rolling this fall.Tags: BMW, car sharing, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Zipcar |