21 Jun 18

VW's ride-sharing offshoot Moia plans pilot in Hamburg

Volkswagen's mobility subsidiary Moia is planning a pilot programme in Hamburg involving hundreds of on-demand shuttles. If successful, the pilot will be extended to other big cities in Germany, and beyond.

The initial success of Uber, and by now a host of other startups and disruptors in the burgeoning on-demand mobility market, has relieved OEMs of their skepticism about the concept of sharing cars and/or rides. 

Moia is VW's attempt to gain a foothold in on-demand mobility. The principle is simple: enter your location and destination on the Moia app, and a vehicle will come pick you up – and others with a similar trajectory (call it ride-pooling rather than ride-sharing).

The idea was successfully tested in with 35 VW minibuses in Hanover, where VW has now applied to expand to 250 vehicles later this year. But the crucial test will be the pilot in Hamburg, to be launched in 2019. This will involve initially 500, and then no less than 1,000 all-electric shuttles. 

An interesting aspect of the pilot will be whether the Moia shuttles will compete with or complement Hamburg's traditional taxi services. 

Authored by: Frank Jacobs