Ride-pooling start-up MOIA shows off fully electric van with space for up to six passengers
Volkswagen Group’s mobility start -up MOIA, today introduced its electric ride-pooling concept, one year after the company’s inception.
Formed with the aim of significantly reducing traffic in major cities, the startup presented its ride pooling ecosystem together with its “One Million Cars off the Road” mission at TechCrunch in Berlin today, where the self-designed MOIA car also made its debut.
“We started one year ago at TechCrunch in London with the vision of partnering with cities to improve the efficiency on their streets. We want to create a solution for the typical transport problems that cities face, such as traffic, air and noise pollution, and lack of space, while simultaneously helping them reach their sustainability goals. In a short time, we’ve laid the groundwork to add a new mobility component to the urban mix. In 2018, we’ll be ready to launch our ride pooling concept internationally and take the first steps toward our goal of reducing the number of cars in major cities by one million in Europe and the USA by 2025,” explained MOIA CEO Ole Harms.
The ride-sharing system and the newly designed car will launch in Hamburg at the end of 2018. As well as the six-seater car, the system will include an app, used to book and pay for rides. The app shows which cars are available and how much the ride will cost before a customer books a trip. A pooling algorithm groups passengers with similar destinations together in order to increase the capacity for each car and to avoid detours. A driver app and comprehensive fleet management complete the system.
According to TechCrunch, the company has created “virtual bus stops” roughly every 200 to 250m throughout its target cities to enable this pooling system.
The MOIA car itself is fully electric, with space for up to six passengers. working essentially as a small minibus/minivan its interior is designed to be spacious, with individual seats and plenty legroom. Seats are also equipped with convenience features such as dimmable reading lights and USB ports. Each car also offers fast WiFi for passengers. The optimized automatic door and handlebar make getting in and out of the car easy. And luggage can be stored in a spacious area next to the driver.
According to the company, the car has a range of more than 300 km (based on WLTP standards) and can be charged to 80% in about 30 minutes. Full battery specifications were not stated.
“Together with MOIA and VW Osnabrück, we are redefining car manufacturing;” says Eckhard Scholz from the Executive Board of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. This accomplishment was made possible through the use of agile processes in the Osnabrück plant.
— TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) December 4, 2017
MOIA says it has been testing its service in Hannover since October 2017 and continuously developing its components in real time. The “MOIA co-creation process” is an integral part of this test, and involve a fleet of 20 Volkswagen T6 Multivans (although at present these are powered by diesel engines)
Although MOIA doesn’t differ too much different from the other ride-hailing services out there, the clout of parent group Volkswagen and project partners like Gett mean that it could make some waves in Europe, and perhaps further afield.
What may be most interesting to see is how the EV itself performs, and whether it will help convince other manufacturers and ride-hailing operators to make a similar switch. Moreover, as “mobility” services expand to include tasks like deliveries, MOIA may well be able to expand production if its custom EV fits the bill.