Volkswagen has kickstarted its car sharing vision of the future
There's no two ways about it, cities are becoming more and more congested by the day. As the world's population escalates towards eight billion, governments are piling R&D into stopping our metropolises from bursting at the seams. Volkswagen has recently unveiled its solution to the problem, through its new tech start-up Moia.
Moia (not the Easter Island statues, unfortunately) is a new company that is now an arm of the VW umbrella, focused purely on providing mobility solutions through fleet-based people carriers, eventually looking towards fully-autonomous on-demand transportation. The firm has been working specifically on a commuter shuttle that looks very appealing when compared to the loud, diesel-powered taxis and buses currently on our streets, and here it is.
It certainly ticks two boxes with the kind of legislation that governments and councils are trying to implement - it's all-electric and is specifically engineered towards ride sharing. The aim for this vehicle by Moia is to reduce congestion in our cities by up to 90 per cent, massively freeing up the road networks and making urban environments that bit safer and cleaner.
With seating for six, the concept essentially makes carpooling as easy and as relaxing as possible, with an emphasis on saving time combined with plenty of personal space and comfort so that you can maximise your time in the vehicle. The main design feature is a very low floor pan to increase room inside the cabin, with interior space further improved by the lack of a hulking boot. Luggage is instead stored in a compartment next to the driver up front.
The seats are individually placed within the cabin, replacing the usual bench configuration that we're used to in most van-converted people carriers. On-board wifi, USB ports and the option to dim the lighting above each seat means that people can either stay active and work on the move or simply shut down and relax during the journey.
Moia also offers a customer-facing app that means users can book and pay for their trips easily, with the app also including a carpooling algorithm to group passengers on similar routes to fully maximise the vehicle's seating capacity. To make this all work most effectively, Moia is in the process of creating virtual collection points every 200 to 250 metres along the main routes of cities that the vehicles operate in.
The company claims that this service will be quicker to pick you up and cheaper than any taxi and is set to begin testing in Hamburg in 2018 through the rolling out of 200 vehicles. With an electric range of 186 miles and a charging time (back to 80 per cent of capacity) of 30 minutes, Moia's product will essentially form an EV-Uber future for our streets if the technology gets fully implemented and is taken on by the masses. The company is also looking to expand to the US by 2025 and claims to have the versatility to adapt to differing urban environments across the globe.
By the time that expansion occurs, Moia is aiming to have taken one million cars off the roads, beginning a long but necessary cleaning process. This is an aggressive move from VW to tackle both congestion and the overwhelming reliance on public transport these days but can be seen as one that many other automotive superpowers should be attempting to realise.
Although pricing for the service has not yet been disclosed, we reckon it won't be long until the DriveTribe office employees are making their way into our central London office via these peaceful and convenient solutions. Until then, it's the smog-covered, packed tube service for us poor Londoners, before these wifi wielding EVs hit our streets.