In conversation with Gregory Ducongé, CEO of Vulog, the company behind most of the technology software solutions powering the most successful shared mobility services around the world.
Vulog is the market leader as we are the only company with operations on five continents. We thus have a global footprint reaching from the EU all the way to China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. This large coverage has enabled us to work with leading carmakers such as Renault, Kia, and Dongfeng on shared mobility services.
Beyond that, we’ve deployed projects in 30 cities across the world, where we enable large scale projects that are dramatically changing how people move and customising changing mobility services. Through this, the way humans move across space becomes much more sustainable by increasingly using e-vehicles and reducing pollution.
Regarding the Renault Zoe, we’ve just launched a great project where we take care of connecting the vehicle with the right technology before it gets to the operators. This is much more efficient as the operators receive “ready-to-go” cars and don’t need to bother with telematics and installing the right software. As such these car-sharing ready vehicles are a win-win-win for operators, for the manufacturers and for us.
In the last 18 months, we’ve seen a much larger focus on carsharing. The biggest manufacturers are pushing for this, and the reasons are manifold:
This joint venture is a fantastic effort and will create competition for companies such as Uber, Didi Chuxing and Tesla. It is also a clear sign for all the other vehicle manufacturers if two of the biggest companies with more than 100 years of rivalry decide to combine their efforts and create a reimagine themselves as a mobility provider. Carmakers currently have a unique opportunity to steer the mobility transformation: They already have established relationships with governments, municipalities and cities, and they have a global network. Also, they have brand recognition and are trusted by consumers. As such, they have it easier than startups whose somewhat exuberant CEOs. This is not to dismiss the efforts by startups to disrupt existing industries, but companies such as Daimler and BMW no longer need to push into a market they already own a big share of.
In the EU, there are two cities that come to mind. One is Berlin, as the number of vehicles has exploded, there is an appetite for the services, and there is a willingness on the part of the city itself to develop good services that make a difference in the lives and movement of its inhabitants.
The other is Madrid, where the former mayor Manuela Carmena was brave in pushing for easy carsharing services. Although they had no charging infrastructure, she made a deal with companies where they would set up the recharging stations and would in turn not pay for parking. This has had a huge impact as there are now four significant providers, with 2500 vehicles and 100.000 people using it. At the end of November, mayor Carmena added restrictions for vehicles in the city centre, where now only EVs are allowed. This has reduced pollution by 60%, which is amazing. And it shows that if there is a strong willingness to do it, it can work. So why aren’t all cities doing this?
As I already mentioned, these project can be run with EVs, they are quick to launch, and they can help both cities and manufacturers reach the CO2 targets for 2020. The evidence is there: people are waiting for new services, they don’t want to keep using the same thing. If car manufacturers are too slow on utilising this opportunity and getting their market share, they will lose the chance to make a crucial change and reposition themselves.
Gregory Ducongé is a French entrepreneur as well as an expert in new technologies and the automobile industry. He has over 15 years of experience in creating value and fast growth for business ventures with a strong focus on corporate social responsibility and ecological transition. Mr. Ducongé holds an MBA from Texas A&M University and a Masters from Montpellier Business School. He started his career in 2000 in the United States, before moving onto different managerial positions at Valeo where he also served as CFO of the Valeo Powertrain Business Group. In 2016, he joined Vulog as CEO where he transformed the Nice start-up from a local carsharing technology pioneer to a global tech leader in shared mobility.
Vulog builds the technology solutions that power the most successful shared mobility services in the world. Free-floating, round-trip, peer-to-peer car-sharing, ride-hailing and hybrid services, as well as autonomous mobility pilots, are powered by its smart and flexible SaaS mobility solution.
Vulog provides the framework and business intelligence to launch within three months in full confidence. It acts as the catalyst enabling mobility operators like WeShare (Volkswagen), Wible (Kia Motors), Free2Move (Groupe PSA), Aimo (Sumitomo) and Evo (BCAA) to focus on sustained growth and profitability. The company’s unique global footprint, combined with its Artificial Intelligence proficiency, enables it to anticipate end-user demand unlike any other, while optimizing fleet balancing. Every day, it brings mobility operators a bit closer to the future business of shared self-driving cars.