Concept Cars

VW's new EV concept could be the future of ride-hailing

It's the first step in Moia's goal to taking a million cars out of cities.

Moia

Modern cars work quite well as vehicles in the sharing economy, even though they aren't built specifically for that task. A Volkswagen subsidiary hopes to change that with a dedicated ridesharing concept.

The concept comes from Volkswagen's Moia subsidiary, an extension of VW's mobility efforts that hopes to capitalize on some people's desire to ditch personal transportation in favor of ride-hailing. Moia's near-term goal is to remove one million cars from cities across Europe and the US by 2025, replacing them with shared mobility schemes like this one.

Moia found a way to make vans even cooler.

Moia

Moia's concept, which lacks a name, is a fully electric van with space for up to six passengers. Each seat stands alone, so you won't have to share a bench with a stranger. Every seat features creature comforts like USB ports and reading lights, and Wi-Fi allows riders to stay connected on the go. The front passenger seat is ditched in favor of additional cargo storage, and ingress and egress should be easy for everyone with massive, automatic sliding doors.

Perhaps most importantly, Moia's concept car won't burn gas or diesel as it ferries passengers around town. The concept is entirely electric, meaning it has a twofold benefit to local air quality -- it can help remove other vehicles from the road while emitting nothing from its tailpipes. Its range is estimated at about 186 miles, with an 80-percent recharge taking place in less than 30 minutes. That latter figure likely assumes the 320-kW charging speed Volkswagen has promised in the past, even though no modern car can handle charging at that rate for now.

Ordering a ride from Moia will be as easy as any other ride-hailing service. A customer app lets passengers book and pay for Moia's services. Algorithms will handle the carpooling portion, matching customers with similar destinations.

Moia's service is already being tested in public, although it's currently limited to Hannover, Germany, and it relies on traditional Volkswagen Multivans. The concept van is slated to hit the roads of Hamburg some time next year.