Volkswagen recently launched WeShare, a fully electric and comprehensive carsharing service in Germany’s capital Berlin: ready to hear about their journey?
BERLIN. October 20, 2020 For this edition of The Shared Journey, we sat down with Joschi Jennermann, COO of Berlin-based WeShare, Volkswagen’s 100% electric fleet. WeShare, composed of over 1,500 e-Golfs, recently announced the launch of their new subscription service WeDrive. Together, we discussed the challenges and opportunities facing mobility, the impact of Covid-19 on fleet management, and the importance of adding more use cases to complete your mobility offer.
Joschi, could you introduce yourself, your role at UMI/WeShare?
My name is Joschi and I am the COO of WeShare, Volkswagen’s shared car service currently operating in Berlin, Germany. The last two years have been quite exciting: pitching the concept, first prototyping & testing, setting up the company, developing the service, and now seeing the service live and running since summer 2019. I am very proud that today we are close to 100k customers that saved more than 1.700kg CO2 emissions by using our service.
What brought you to work in the mobility industry?
In my early career, I was working for companies where I haven’t really had any emotional touchpoint to their products. As a result, I didn’t enjoy my work as much. When I started to work at Volkswagen, it was the opposite! Even though I wasn’t a “car guy,” I enjoyed working in mobility because everyone interacts with “mobility” every day. Mobility presents an interesting dilemma because, on the one hand, people want to move, and they have to move, but on the other, how they are moving is not really efficient, it’s not green or easy. Seeing that there is so much room for improvement is a big motivation for shaping the future of mobility.
Tell us more about the origin of WeShare.
Volkswagen was looking for ways to address new mobility needs. I was on a small team within VW that pitched different ideas, one of which was electric carsharing. The idea itself was nothing really new. At that time, carsharing had existed for around 10 years. It was more about what made sense for Volkswagen as a step in the directions towards new mobility. With the WeShare service, we were able to combine what VW is good at, the development and production of new electric vehicles, but then using them for a new service in a growing market. That was the story we sold and it seems that it was done successfully.
The e-Golf was actually a good starting point for us because most of us know the Golf as the car everybody used at VW. It’s a nice transition! You’re in a Golf, you are familiar with the layout of the car, but now it’s electric. With many of our customers, we got the feedback that it’s the first time they used an electric vehicle, and then they really liked it because it’s fun, it’s easy to use, and it’s not complicated to charge.
When you say charging is not difficult, do you have partnerships with certain companies? In comparison to other large cities, are there more charging stations?
The public charging infrastructure in Berlin is comparably good. Within our operating zone, we have around 700 public charging points. But having in mind that more and more people also on a private level decide for e-mobility and professional e-fleets like car sharing are further growing this can only be the beginning. We will face a constant shortage of infrastructure in the future years. Therefore, we have some cooperations, for example with the Schwarz-Gruppe (Lidl) where we can charge our vehicles also with fast chargers overnight. This supports us in having a smart and efficient charging concept, that releases the pressure of using public infrastructure.
What are some of the achievements you are the proudest of?
If I have to choose one thing, it’s the right balance we found the last year between speed, failure acceptance, and quality. That mix is not always easy – having Volkswagen in the background as a company that strives for 100% perfection.
Describe your typical customer. Who are they?
We have a diverse range of people using our service. It shows that WeShare is well positioned in a way that many can identify the brand with their lifestyle. When we break it down, we see that our most frequent users are people between 30 and 40. The generation I belong to – having a high and flexible demand for mobility but at the same time having the intention to move as sustainably as possible.
Vulog, the world’s leading tech mobility provider, is proud to power WeShare, the world’s largest 100% electric carsharing service. 100% electric, 100% green energy, 0% emissions: WeShare brings electric carsharing to your door. With easy access to a fully electric fleet, you can enjoy as much or as little car in your life as you want, sustainably.