27 Nov 19

Both Hamburg and VW benefit from renewed mobility pact

Hamburg is renewing its strategic mobility partnership with Volkswagen Group. From 2020, WeShare will launch in the city, e-mobility will expand and autonomous trucks will be tested in Hamburg’s container port. And those are just a few examples of the pact, which will benefit both parties. 

Hamburg is not just a major city in northern Germany, but also one of the federal republic’s constituent states. That gives it more freedom to plot out its own policies, including on mobility. 

And the city-state is nothing if not ambitious, as shown by its far-reaching pact with VW, which has now been extended. The partnership has four focal points:

  • Support for e-mobility;
  • Innovative mobility services;
  • Intelligent transport networks; and
  • Self-driving vehicles.

One of the overall goals of the VW partnership is to create significant and sustainable improvement to the quality of life in Hamburg’s inner city, which currently strains under the twin scourges of pollution and congestion (pictured). The second phase of the Hamburg/VW partnership will see some significant initiatives in this respect, mainly on the electric front. 

The main initiative is WeShare, which will be launched in Hamburg in the spring of 2020. The fully-electric carsharing scheme has debuted successfully in Berlin. WeShare will offer over 1,000 e-Golf and e-up! cars for sharing, and later in the year, also ID.3 vehicles. As in Berlin, WeShare will use a free-floating system: there will be no fixed collect and deposit points, so users can enjoy maximum flexibility. 

Hamburg Hochbahn
Also, the fully-electric shuttle-on-demand service MOIA will expand its fleet from 200 to 500 vehicles. The MOIA ridesharing vans provide a substantial addition to current transport options. Like WeShare, they will be integrated with ‘switchh’ the mobility platform of Hamburg Hochbahn (HH), the city’s metro system. 

Some other partnership projects for 2020:

  • MAN will deliver 20 electric buses to Hamburg’s public transport authority HVV by the end of 2020. 
  • To support the expansion of electric mobility, Hamburg has expanded its public EV charging infrastructure to over 1,000 points. 
  • MAN, Hamburg’s port logistics company HHLA and haulier Jakob Weets will cooperate to test fully-automatic trucks at the Altenwerder Container Terminal. 

Both ways
The renewal of the cooperation between Hamburg and VW is the result of – and builds on - the successes of the first stage of their strategic mobility partnership. Hamburg benefits from improvements in the flow and density of its traffic. 

But the benefits work both ways – VW also profits from the collaboration:

  • MAN, HH and regional transport authority VHH cooperated on integrating buses and public transport. MAN used the findings to develop its new, all-electric Lion’s City E bus, which is now in regular service in Hamburg.
  • Also, the VHH depot will feature a second-life storage system connected to the charging network, which will test the behaviour of used batteries in real-life conditions. 

VW Autonomy

  • VW Group Innovation has learned to deal with complexities of automated and connected driving thanks to real-life tests in Hamburg. Those results are being used for development by VW Autonomy, a new addition to the VW Group. 
  • Audi has successfully piloted ‘Traffic Light Information’, a networking project linking traffic lights and vehicles to improve traffic flow. TLI is soon coming to Hamburg and other German cities. 
  • As part of its ‘Hamburg eDrive’ initiative, VW has rolled out ‘Clean Air’, an action to deliver 200 EVs to private customers, corporates and public authorities at special conditions. Hamburg dealers get to distribute 400 EVs as part of the action. 

VW and Hamburg are already looking beyond next year to intensify their collaboration. Hamburg has won the bid to host the 2021 World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), thanks in no small part to the support from VW Group, which is one of the main partners of the ITS World Congress and holds the chair of the Host Committee.

Authored by: Frank Jacobs