Just imagine what Volkswagen might have accomplished if it had not decided to pursue its diesel cheating agenda. That horribly wrong headed policy has cost the company billions of dollars and seen some of its top officials arrested or imprisoned. But now, Volkswagen seems to have learned its lesson in the School of Hard Knocks and is pushing its way to the front of the electric car revolution — or so it hopes.
“Mobility” is the key word in the world of transportation these days and Volkswagen intends to get there firstest with the mostest when it comes to mobility products. Its WE carsharing service — which will use only electric vehicles — is scheduled to launch next year in Germany before expanding to major cities in Europe, North America, and Asia, according to TechCrunch.
“We are convinced that the carsharing market still has potential,” says Jürgen Stackmann, Volkswagen’s board member for sales. “That is why we are entering this market with a holistic single-source concept covering all mobility needs from the short journey that takes just a few minutes to the long vacation trip.”
WE will focus on mobility. Not only will it provide electric cars for carsharing, but it intends to also offer customers a choice of last-mile electric scooters known as the Streetmate and Cityskater. The WE platform will interface with the company’s MOIA electric shuttle service, which has room for up to 6 passengers. The vehicle-on-demand services available on the Volkswagen WE platform will be managed by Urban Mobility International, a subsidiary of Volkswagen that began operating in 2018.
It is no coincidence that Volkswagen expects to begin manufacturing its first all-electric car, the ID hatchback, next year. That car is expected to retail for about the same price as a conventional Golf diesel. The ID brand will expand to include a compact electric crossover, a minibus, and a four-door sedan by 2020. There are hints it may also add an electric version of the iconic Beetle sometime in the near future.
“Our target is to sell more than 1 million electric cars in 2025,” VW’s sales chief Juergen Stackmann said at a press conference in Berlin recently. “But our current plans show that we might actually be able to sell far more than the 1 million.” The company’s new CEO, Herbert Diess, has said he wants the company to become a global provider of mobility beyond the manufacturing and selling of vehicles.
The car business is changing and some traditional companies are going to get caught out by the changes. Will Volkswagen be nimble enough to shrug off the financial burdens caused by its diesel cheating debacle and remain relevant in the brave new world of mobility ahead? “We’ll see,” said the Zen master.
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