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The Future of Sharing Services

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.

Thank you for joining us, Mr Ducongé. 25 services worldwide already use Vulog’s technology as their backbone. Why is Vulog the leader in shared mobility technology and how is it contributing to the shared mobility revolution?

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. 

You recently announced a partnership with Renault where you’d be working on car-sharing ready e-vehicles, and you’re working with Volkswagen in launching the world’s largest electric car-sharing under their brand ”WeShare”. How are the world's leading carmakers taking the driver's seat in shared mobility?

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: 

  • In the long-term, they need to transform their businesses from being a car producer to being a shared mobility provider, expanding on the service that they have been used to over decades. 
  • With car sharing, these manufacturers can use a step-by-step learning process. Through the creation of a car-sharing fleet, they are in contact with possible e-vehicle end consumers, and can also record data on the mobility patterns, which is useful knowledge to have in order to expand and reposition themselves as mobility service providers. 
  • As I mentioned, this pushes e-vehicles into the realm of possible consumers without commitment – most people don’t know the range, don’t know how EVs drive and so on. Through car-sharing services they can “test drive” the vehicles, with enormously positive feedback: 80% of users are big fans after having tested an EV. 
  • Lastly, the EU has issued binding legislation to ensure certain climate and energy targets are met by 2020, where hefty fines will be issued if they are not met. Car sharing services are an effective way to still produce new vehicles, but also to meet these targets and reduce the fines as much as possible.

Speaking of fines and car-sharing services, what do you think of the merger between the interests of Daimler and BMW under their new AI joint venture? 

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. 

By the end of 2019, over 2.500 Renault ZOEs equipped with Vulog’s car-sharing technology will be in-market, initially in northern Europe, South America and the United Arab Emirates. Which cities are at the forefront of shared mobility? (big & small)

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?

Why is car-sharing a viable solution for carmakers when it comes to meeting CO2 emission standards?

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. 

„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, Vulog CEO

Vulog at the IAA

Meet and listen to Gregory Ducongé speak in person at the IAA!

You can find him talking about The electro-panic on September 13 at 3.30 pm in the Great Auditorium.

About Gregory Ducongé

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.

 

About Vulog

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.