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Sharing is Caring

Vilnius, Riga, and Tallinn rank as the top three capitals of Europe for having the highest density of carsharing vehicles per capita and square meter.

One of the largest players in these markets is CityBee. The company was established in Lithuania ten years ago and is considered one of the pioneers of carsharing. CityBee offers vehicles for short-term rental in 17 Baltic cities. Since 2021, CityBee has also been humming electrically. We spoke with CEO Kristijonas Kaikaris about the trends and future opportunities in the car sharing business.

Mr Kaikaris, why is car sharing so popular in the Baltic states?

People are increasingly questioning car ownership and the associated maintenance costs, especially in light of rising inflation. Some city dwellers have therefore decided against owning a car and opt for mobility solutions such as car sharing or car subscription services instead, while others combine the two.

What is the typical customer profile?

Our customers are city dwellers of different ages for whom convenience and flexibility are particularly important. They tend to use car sharing services for short trips, to get from A to B quickly – especially when there are stops between A and B, such as shopping. However, we are also seeing an increase in longer journeys, so we have introduced travel packages. These allow our customers to see how much they will have to spend on a planned longer journey in advance. Customers then know when they buy the package how long and how far they can travel for a fixed amount.

What is the composition of your fleet?

We offer a wide range of different car models in our fleet to meet our customers’ needs – from compact to premium cars. From Volkswagen, we currently offer the Taigo, Golf 8, T-Cross and T-Roc, Crafter, and the eCrafter, which plays an important role in our fleet. It was the first electric commercial vehicle model to be added to CityBee's fleet and has established itself well. Our customers use it especially for inner-city transport, such as removals. We are seeing that more and more customers are choosing electric when they need a commercial vehicle.

Our customers, like most Lithuanians, are very familiar with Volkswagen. They have great confidence in the brand and know they are getting a quality car. I could say that for Lithuanians, Volkswagen is the standard for a good car.

Kristijonas Kaikaris CEO CityBee

Keyword eCrafter: CityBee has also been humming electrically since 2021. How high is the share of electric vehicles in your fleet?

Electric cars currently make up quite a small portion of our fleet. However, electrification is one of our strategic goals. Our aim is to have a fully electric car fleet by 2030. To achieve this, we need appropriate infrastructure in all markets where we are active – currently Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – so we cannot get there very quickly.

How is the public charging infrastructure in your markets?

The charging infrastructure in the Baltic states is currently only under construction. In Lithuania, there are already quite a number of charging stations, but Latvia and Estonia are somewhat smaller countries where the demand is not yet as high. Unlike in Lithuania, electric cars and charging stations are not subsidized there. Consequently, infrastructure development in the Baltic states is unfortunately not yet progressing quickly enough. In particular, there is a lack of charging stations in residential areas, or if they do exist, they are not yet functioning properly. So, there is still a way to go before full electrification is achieved, and it will take a great deal of effort from companies, governments, and customers.

And what do your customers think about e-vehicles?

In our operational markets, electric cars are gaining attention and popularity – people are slowly getting to know them. Especially in the context of rising fuel prices and an interest in environmentally friendly options. Trends are not so easy to judge yet. But of course, electric cars are the future for all of us. In the end, we must all look for ways to decarbonise the EU transport sector and resolve the global climate crisis.

What features are particularly important for your car customers?

Our customers use the car not only for short trips but also for long and sometimes international journeys, so practical features are very much appreciated. Customers like the automatic transmission, the Apple Car/Android Auto systems installed in the CityBee vehicles, the adaptive cruise control, the reversing camera, the heated seats, etc. Our customers appreciate cars with a higher spec. They also want to try out as many different vehicle models as possible.

What criteria do you use to select vehicles for your fleet?

The most important criteria we take into account are our customers' preferences and needs. Based on the bookings, we can assess which cars they find attractive and comfortable and which ones suit their many different lifestyles.

How does the total cost of ownership (TCO) of combustion engines and e-vehicles differ in your markets?

The TCO is almost the same if you consider the subsidies for e-models. However, combustion engines are still more profitable for us at the moment, due to the higher demand. In Latvia and Estonia, electric vehicles are not subsidized. At this stage, e-vehicles are still quite expensive, and they depreciate faster. However, as fuel prices continue to rise, it is increasingly worthwhile to choose e-vehicles. In addition, countries in the EU are already introducing additional restrictions and taxes for polluting cars.

What are the biggest challenges for vehicles in car sharing?

Vehicles on the car sharing platform are not private, so we face the challenge of maintaining all the cars in the fleet at a level that ensures that every customer has the best experience from the start to the end of their journey. We must ensure that every vehicle in our fleet is technically in good condition, clean and safe, preferably before each trip.

What are CityBee's plans for the future?

Now that we are already well established in the Baltic states, we plan to expand in both existing and new European markets in the coming years. We strongly believe in our vision of providing comfortable car sharing and car subscription services, while contributing to greener cities.

What role do Volkswagen vehicles play in your plans?

Volkswagen is making an important contribution to the expansion of our car sharing services and the development of mobility solutions. We want to meet our customers’ expectations and we know we can do that by offering the most popular brands in the market.


CityBee has been offering carsharing services in Lithuania since 2012 and now has around 550,000 registered users in the country. Since 2019, the service has also been available in Latvia and Estonia and is now active in a total of 17 cities in the Baltic states – including Vilnius, Riga, and Tallinn. The company is part of the international Modus Group, which is currently active in twelve European markets in the business areas of renewable energy (Green Genius), automotive (representing 15 world renowned brands) and investment fund management (Modus Asset Management).

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Stand: 12.12.2022

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