One of the Volkswagen Group’s primary brands, Spain’s SEAT, has launched a new all-electric carsharing service in the city of Barcelona (Spain).
The new electric car sharing service makes use of electric SEAT eMii prototypes — with the aim being to (initially at least) focus on the +1,000 employees of SEAT Metropolis:Lab Barcelona and the Pier 01 Barcelona Tech City.
As noted in a press release announcing the news, the all-electric SEAT eMii prototypes are essentially SEAT-branded versions of the Volkswagen e-Up. They are outfitted with 18.7 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery packs and 60 kW electric drivetrains. The new rebranded offerings reportedly possess an all-electric range of 160 or so kilometers (~100 miles) per full charge.
Here’s a bit more on the matter coming from the press release (h/t Green Car Congress): “The batteries take 8 hours to charge at slow recharging points, and 35 minutes at the fast charge points. Users can reserve a car from the fleet via a mobile app. After making the reservation, the system sends a digital key that enables the user to access the car with a single click, without the need for a physical key.”
“The data provided by the fleet of eMiis will be added to the research and development of technologies spearheaded by SEAT’s digital lab.”
While an interesting program, will any of this lead to an actual wide rollout of such vehicles and services anytime soon? Going on Volkswagen Group’s track record, and going on comments made by company execs in recent years, I’m inclined to say, “no, not likely.”
We’ve sent some questions over to SEAT to try to learn more about this program and the company’s perspective on the future of mobility. We’ll keep you posted if we get any interesting responses and if any interesting developments follow on this news, but for now.
As noted in a Toyota-focused article yesterday, every major automaker and its cousin is involved in carsharing these days. Some examples:
BMW & Daimler are now working together on carsharing, ridesharing, and related services — which includes a merger of some sort of DriveNow and Car2Go.
GM is working on peer-to-peer carsharing as part of its broader Maven sharing arm. It also has the EN-V 2.0 carsharing program in China.
Nissan recently launched a new carsharing service using Nissan LEAFs. It’s also been running carsharing programs for years with its little New Mobility Concept EVs and has a robotaxi partnership going with DeNA in Japan.
Hyundai launched its first carsharing service last year in Amsterdam, Holland. The service uses Hyundai Ioniq Electrics.
Renault & Ferrovial created a joint venture called Zity for electrified carsharing.
PSA Group is in the game with its Free2Move arm and investment in TravelCar.
Volvo announced last year that it would create a carsharing arm.
Volkswagen said in 2016 it would focus much more on these mobility as a service (MaaS) matters.
If you’re curious about the SEAT eMii, as noted above, it’s a rebadge of the VW e-Up! You can read our review of the e-Up! here. Here was the one-line summary: “The Volkswagen e-Up! is a quality electric vehicle with a lot of freedom in the regenerative braking realm, great pickup, a comfortable interior, and a very smooth ride.”
If you want to see that review in broader context, see “47 CleanTechnica Electric Vehicle Review Articles In 2017” and “Comparing 15 Electric Cars I’ve Driven.” A broader summary of the e-Up! from that article is as follows:
“A cute city car that feels quite a bit like a “normal” car and doesn’t thrill in any particular area, but does get the job done about as well as anything else in its price range. Several options for regenerative braking may be a plus for people sharing the car with a spouse/kid, or for people who like to play with the driving options in different scenarios. The interior plastics are somewhat dominant and overwhelming, making the car feel cheaper than a LEAF or Zoe. Seating and navigation weren’t ideal for me, but I could live with them if the wife preferred the e-Up! over competing models. (Note: she didn’t.)”
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