Ahead of its roll-out, Audi is running a car-sharing pilot program in North Carolina.
Car sharing is one of the Next Big Things in the automotive industry. General Motors has Maven, BMW has ReachNow and soon Audi will have Audi Shared Fleet, which the pilot program will test out.
Audi's home base for its Shared Fleet pilot program is American Underground, a tech incubator in Durham, North Carolina. It has placed three fully loaded red 2017 Audi A4 sedans at the complex and will monitor the scheme before a planned nationwide roll out in 2017.
Like many other car-sharing services, the experience is largely app-based. Using the Audi Shared Fleet app, users will be able to locate, claim and unlock cars. Pricing will likely set by the minute or hour, but it's unclear if the Shared Fleet cars will need to be dropped off in a specific place, such as Maven.
American Underground sounds like the perfect place for this pilot program, because it contains what Audi will likely see as its core constituents: tech-industry Millennials who may only occasionally need a car and have cash to burn. More than 700 folks work at American Underground, so it's likely that those three cars will see plenty of use.
Audi is the primary luxury arm of Volkswagen Group, which is slowly branching out into the car-sharing industry. VW Group's already invested in Gett, a European ride-hailing service, and Audi's dabbled in rentals with Silvercar. Audi On Demand is a San Francisco operation that's similar to Shared Fleet, but the cars are dropped off wherever the user is.