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MOIA shuttle: Ridepooling gets a brand new look

The mobility provider is taking the gloves off

For the last few months, MOIA has been testing its ride pooling concept with VW T6 minivans in Hanover. Now the mobility provider is taking the gloves off with an electric shuttle it has developed itself and the launch of the MOIA service in Hamburg

Just one year after CEO Matthias Müller and MOIA CEO Ole Harms announced the launch of MOIA at the “TechCrunch Disrupt” in London, the Volkswagen subsidiary has matured. At the “TechCrunch Disrupt” 2017 in Berlin, Harms had some exciting news to reveal: MOIA has developed its own shuttle specially designed for ride pooling. The mobility provider intends to launch this in Hamburg at the end of 2018. Initially, 200 MOIA shuttles will then ferry Hamburg residents from A to B – cheaper than by taxi, faster and more comfortable than with public transport and more sustainably than by car.

“We started off with the vision of improving efficiency on the roads as a partner to the cities. We want to offer a solution to traffic-related problems such as traffic jams, air pollution, noise and lack of space and thereby help cities reach their sustainability targets,” Harms said. His stated goal is to reduce the number of vehicles in cities in Europe and the United States by one million by 2025.

In fact, there is a good chance that ride pooling will supersede car sharing as the dominant mobility topic in the coming years. For one thing because the urban traffic infrastructure is increasingly reaching its limits and ride pooling can reduce traffic on the streets relatively well, but also because growing numbers of people are online all the time. This makes completely new services possible, ride pooling for example: users enter their starting point and destination in a smartphone app and an algorithm sends a shuttle to the closest virtual stop. MOIA promises that no potential customer should have to walk more than 200 meters. Passengers share the vehicle with others going in the same direction. This enables everyone to get to their destination with minimal detours. And also extremely comfortably thanks to the new MOIA vehicle.

This special-purpose vehicle is fully electric, in line with the Volkswagen Group’s vision of becoming one of the world’s leading providers of sustainable mobility by 2025. “The vehicle provides exquisite luxury and, in our opinion, is an integral part of a consistent service experience,” said Robert Henrich, COO of MOIA. To take all users’ needs into account, in parallel to the development, MOIA frequently organized feedback events at which test users from all age groups provided valuable input on the vehicle and the service. Many of the ideas that this “MOIA co-creation process” generated had already been incorporated into the vehicle’s development, he said. “We are working on additional, future versions in parallel,” Henrich added.

“The vehicle provides exquisite luxury and, in our opinion, is an integral part of a consistent service experience.”

Robert Henrich

The new MOIA-Mobil can comfortably fit up to six passengers. The interior has a pleasant, spacious design. Unlike in minivan taxis, each passenger has a freestanding seat. The designs also thought about maximum legroom and space to enable passengers to reach their seat easily, the idea being that the journey should be as pleasant as possible for every single passenger. And anyone who doesn’t want to have any contact with the other passengers should feel comfortable.

MOIA also thought of the little things that make life easier: each seat has a dimmable reading light and – something that is particularly important for members of Generation Z, who are constantly online everywhere – USB ports for charging their smartphones. It nearly goes without saying that each vehicle also provides rapid WLAN for its MOIA passengers. Entering and exiting the vehicle is made easier by an automatic door that has been optimized for the intended purpose and a grab handle. There is an extra, clearly visible area next to the driver for stowing luggage.

MOIA was able to develop this vehicle so fast because the young company had recourse to the expertise of experienced partners in the Volkswagen Group. Together with Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Volkswagen Osnabrück, the MOIA-Mobil was planned, developed and built in a record ten months. It has a range of more than 300 kilometers according to WLTP-standard and can be charged up to 80 percent in about 30 minutes.

MOIA has already been testing its ride pooling concept in Hanover for a number of months. There, 20 VW T6 minivans take around 2,000 test users from A to B. At regular “co-creation days” users rate the service and make suggestions for improvement. MOIA plans to expand its service to other cities in 2020, thus coming closer to the vision of CEO Harms by degrees.

Facts and figures for the MOIA shuttle at a glance

  • Engine: fully electric
  • Capacity: six passengers
  • Extras: connected with backend
  • Number: initially 200 vehicles in Hamburg
  • Plan: to expand the service to other cities in 2020