Volkswagen announced that it will begin a car-sharing test program in Hanover. Quicar members will be able to pick up fuel efficient VW Golf BlueMotions and VW Beetles from 50 locations throughout the city.
Liane Yvkoff is a freelance writer who blogs about cars for CNET Car Tech. E-mail Liane.
Residents in Hanover, Germany are being encouraged to share a Volkswagen. Volkswagen is launching its Quicar car-sharing program in the capital of Lower Saxony, and will recruit residents, students, government officials, and commercial users to share a fleet of about 50 fuel-efficient vehicles in an effort to reduce traffic.
The first batch of cars for the Quicar program will be the extremely fuel-efficient VW Golf BlueMotion. The hatchback, which isn't available in the U.S., is equipped with a 1.6-liter TDI diesel engine, a start-stop system, and regenerative brakes to achieve its 60 mpg fuel economy. To start, VW will have 50 vehicles in pick-up and drop-off locations throughout the city, and may expand the program to 100 locations down the line. Eventually, the carmaker will add the new VW Beetle and Caddy people mover to the mix.
The program will operate a lot like Zipcar. Using a proprietary telematics and booking system, Quicar members will book the shared cars online, using a mobile app, or by contacting a call center up to five minutes before they need the car. Like Zipcar, customers will use a membership card or a microchip attached to their driver's license to unlock the vehicles. Drivers start the car using the ignition key located inside the vehicle and enter a PIN using the touch screen. To make the most out of the standard in-vehicle navigation and entertainment systems, members are issued SD cards on which they can store their own addresses, routes, and music.
Volkswagen is the latest German automaker to explore car-sharing programs. BMW launched its DriveNow program in Munich, and Mercedes expanded its Car2Go program to Austin. No details on pricing were given for Quicar.