VW's Moia Announcement Shows Way To Automaker's Mobility Future
Marc Stern's picture

Here Is How Volkswagen Plans To Expand Mobility Options

Volkswagen has begun a new subsidiary that is looking at mobility options. Moia, the Berlin-based firm, will explore mobility options such as ride-sharing and related activities.

When Volkswagen announced last week that it was launching a company focused on mobility solutions, a question kept on recurring, why would an automaker that had taken a $300 million equity position in Gett, a London-based ride-hailing firm?

The answer was subtly obvious when one looked at the new company, Moia, and VW’s plans carefully. Moia is to be the testbed for many new services at its Berlin headquarters, says Boldride.com.

Significant Share Of Revenue

With VW hoping to generate a significant share of its revenues through ride-hailing and on-demand vehicle services by 2025, it makes a lot of sense to use a Moia as the development testbed for an already-existing enterprise. That is the plan that was revealed last week when Moia was announced to the motoring press. Moia will develop and test new mobility solutions before expanding them to other cities.

At its announcement during the London TechCrunch Disrupt conference, the automaker said one of its first projects would be electric commuter shuttles that users can hail from a smartphone app. The interesting feature of this idea is that it combines the service aspects of a public bus line with the on-demand features you find with Uber or Lyft. Indeed, it is much like the UberPool service.

Still, there’s no denying that the biggest use of this service will be in ride-hailing, VW says.

Moia is the latest of examples of the auto industry either launching their car-sharing services or partnering with ride-hailing firms like Uber and Lyft. Automakers are seeking strategic alliances or proprietary solutions as a step toward insulating themselves from moves away from their core business as urban consumers opt away from traditional ownership or leasing for ride-sharing or car-hailing services.

What makes Volkswagen’s move especially noteworthy, aside from its investment in Gett, is that it is making a new investment in a brand-new subsidiary at a time when it is still fighting the effects of the Dieselgate emissions scandal. The fallout from the self-inflicted emissions scandal has now moved to the 3.0-liter V-6 vehicles that may either be repaired or bought back. And, the automaker is also facing pressure from the Justice Department with its criminal probe and the Federal Trade Commission, which is investigating false advertising issues.

Self-Driving Another Aspect

During the announcement of Moia, the automaker indicated it would be looking closely at self-driving technology. However, it offered no further details as to exactly what its explorations may look like. And, there was no indication of which markets might be among the first tests or even what vehicles will be used. Volkswagen may have signaled its intent, through Audi. At the Paris Auto Show, earlier this year the automaker unveiled its ID concept car that featured, among other things, a retractable steering wheel and support for autonomous driving.

Source: Boldride.com, MSN Autos

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