Volkswagen to launch digital fleet services and car sharing
Volkswagen is to expand into digital services for fleets and mobility solutions such as car sharing as it positions itself as a provider of both hardware and software.
A press conference held today in the group’s Group Representative Office in Berlin shared details of its digital strategy under the ‘Volkswagen We’ banner , which will bring a range of services and solutions via just one log-in, meaning Volkswagens “increasingly become digital devices on wheels”.
Announced some 2.5 years into its development, the Volkswagen We ‘eco-system’ will take effect from 2020 and will see most car fitted with the We Connect technology, which enables drivers to get vehicle information on their smartphone, including consumption, refuelling, fuel, and travel costs, similar to the Car-Net app but connected from the outset. This will make drivers “masters of their own data”. There will be a We Connect Plus premium version with more features and a We Connect Go version for used cars.
For fleets, a We Connect Fleet version will provide telematics data for multiple vehicles. Details have not been provided but Volkswagen said it was aware that its fleet customers have different expectations of connectivity.
Drivers will also be able to use their smartphones to access a wide range of features and services, including location-based functionality such as the We Park services that enables the car to find its own parking place and enables digital payment. Drivers will also be able to use a We Deliver delivery services to have parcels delivered to the boot of their car or even arrange parcel collections. Volkswagen also said it’s looking at grocery deliveries to customers’ cars. And We Experience will provide details of offers at fuel stations and supermarkets. Some services will be fee-based with further details to be provided, and VW will launch a loyalty programme. Third-party involvement will be vital to all of this and Volkswagen said there will be an API marketplace where developers can augment their mobility apps. The carmaker stressed that it will be up to the customer to choose how much or how little of these services they use.
Volkswagen is also debuting two new services in the form of ‘We Charging’ and ‘We Share’.
We Charging will ensure drivers can charge seamlessly whether they are using their VW charging box or a public charging infrastructure. Christoph Hartung, head of mobility sales digital & new business of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand, said: “We believe this is a very good USP that will lead to the acceptance of e-mobility in society.”
VW also revealed more details of its new We Share electric car sharing service, announced in June. This will launch in the second quarter of 2019 in Berlin with 1,500 e-Golf models and a further 500 e-Up models to join later. From 2020, these will be replaced by the first models from the Volkswagen I.D. family and the service will expand to further cities in Germany and Europe as well as to North America.
The new service will not only support drivers and fleets with the shift to mobility but will also help Volkswagen highlight its electric cars in line with the launch of the new I.D. family.
Jürgen Stackmann, Volkswagen Brand Board Member for Sales, said: “We are democratising e-mobility. From 2020, ’We Share’ is to support the market introduction of the new generation of our new, all-electric I.D. models and thus make a significant contribution to the Volkswagen brand’s e-mobility offensive.”