Volkswagen kicks off car-sharing program in Hanover

Volkswagen Quikcar

Taking cue from the likes of Zipcar, Volkswagen has instituted a sharing program in the city of Hanover, Germany, whereby 200 VW Golf BlueMotion vehicles will be available at 50 locations throughout the city. Program members will be able to book their time through the web, a mobile app, or by phone.

“Innovative traffic concepts are always very interesting for our city,” said Volkswagen is cooperating closely with the city on this project. Stephan Weil, Mayor of Hanover. “We are delighted that Volkswagen is launching a car sharing project here. Hanover has a population of some 520,000 and is a major industrial powerhouse, trade fair venue and service location, a university city and, not least, the capital of Lower Saxony – so it is the ideal setting for such a project.”

To obtain the vehicle they have booked, the member is simply to go to the destination where the car is parked and swipe a card through a reader, so as to gain access to the inside of the car, where a key will be located to start and drive the vehicle. Customers will also be given an SD memory card, on which they can store navigation destinations and music to be read by each vehicles navigation and audio systems.

Mercedes and BMW have both started programs like this one, making VW the third German company to do so. VW plans to expand the program to include 100 locations in the ‘medium-term’, and also to add the Beetle to the program’s fleet.

Click through for the press release.

Press Release:

Volkswagen starts car sharing project in Hanover

  • Mobility concept takes to the streets in the fall with 200 VW Golf BlueMotion
  • Close cooperation with the city – up to 100 locations in the medium term

Hanover/Wolfsburg, 12 May 2011 – Volkswagen is mobilizing Hanover. The Group is launching a new car sharing concept in the Lower Saxony capital this fall featuring 200 VW Golf BlueMotion. The name: “Quicar – Share a Volkswagen”. The city of Hanover and Europe’s largest automaker signed a letter of intent to this effect. “Highlights of the project featuring our particularly efficient models include high vehicle availability and excellent functionality of the overall concept. And we are integrating private customers, students and authorities as well as commercial users,” Christian Klingler, Board Member for Sales and Marketing for the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand, commented.

The first model in the fleet will be the VW Golf BlueMotion. Its 1.6 TDI diesel engine has an average fuel consumption of a mere 3.8 liters per 100 kilometers, corresponding to CO2 emissions of only 99 grams per kilometer. A start-stop system and recuperation (brake energy regeneration) are standard features and make sure the Volkswagen fleet in Hanover ranks among the most efficient car sharing service providers. In the medium term other models such as the VW Caddy or the newly launched VW Beetle will be added to the fleet.

To start there will be some 50 pick-up and drop-off locations dotted all over the city. In the medium term, this number could reach 100. It is easy for customers to collect and return their cars to these stations. The advantage of this system is its very high availability. Customers interested in car sharing will be able to register and find out more at shops located across the city.

The principle of the concept is very user-friendly. Once customers have registered they can book a Golf BlueMotion via the Internet, a special app or a call center up to five minutes before the car is needed. Collecting the vehicle only takes a few seconds. The customer holds a chip card or a chip fixed to the driver license over a reader fitted to the car and the vehicle is unlocked. The ignition key in located inside and the driver completes the authorization process by entering a PIN using the touch screen.

A completely new telematics and software solution for bookings, reservations and vehicle management has been developed for the car sharing fleet. In addition, all the vehicles are fitted with navigation and entertainment systems. Customers are issued with an additional SD memory card for this equipment, allowing them to save individual destinations or routes. And there is plenty of room for storing music, too.

– By: Stephen Calogera