Audi Tests New Kind of Car Sharing, Lets You Buy Cars with Buddies
12 Décembre 2014 - Autoblog
Car sharing services like ZipCar, Car2Go and others offer people in cities the chance to have a vehicle without dealing with the hassles of parking or maintenance, while also eliminating traffic.
However, many individuals are turned off by the idea of splitting a car with an entire metropolis or would prefer to have a specific model at their disposal. For these unsatisfied souls, Audi has a new arrangement in Stockholm, Sweden, called Audi Unite that might be just the ticket.
The setup is basically a small-scale car sharing service. Up to five people agree to share any of Audi's models for a year or two – even an R8 if they are so inclined. Each user has a special Bluetooth key fob that identifies them to the vehicle, and a smartphone app allows operators to schedule time with the car. Each person is then billed monthly according to his or her use. Audi thinks it might work best with friends, colleagues or neighbors, but the company can also play matchmaker for clients, if necessary.
"In the beginning, our biggest fear was what if two people want to go somewhere at the same time-what happens then?" said Clemens Weisshaar, one of the founders of design firm Kram/Weisshaar that helped develop the idea, to Fast Company. "Interestingly, it never happened." They chose Stockholm because the city was tech-savvy, and there is a tradition of sharing there.
Prices for Audi Unite seem fairly reasonable for each user. According to the service's website, if four people use an A3 Sportback for two years with a 20,000-kilometer (12,247-mile) driving limit, they would pay an average of 2,091 Swedish krona ($277) each per month. For an extra 365 krona (about $50) per person each month, they can add a package that includes vehicle pickup and delivery for monthly interior and exterior cleaning, winter tire exchanges and necessary servicing.
After Stockholm, Audi plans to try Unite in other Swedish cities before launching the program in additional countries, according to Fast Company.