Car sharing schemes are quite popular all across North America and Europe, since many now prefer to use a car only when they need to, instead of owning even though they don’t really use it enough to justify its purchase and the inherent extra hassle. The prospect seems very attractive from an end user’s perspective, which is why it’s not surprising that more and more brands are popping up with this sole focus, mobility brands, like the Renault-owned Mobilize.
Recently confirmed for launch in the UK in 2023, Mobilize will come to Britain with a tandem two-seater electric urban runabout, a spiritual successor to the Renault Twizy called the Duo. It is an important vehicle for Renault, since the manufacturer defines it as its first ever “software-defined vehicle,” (notion explained in the video below) according to Mobilize CEO Fedra Ribeiro, who also said the Duo was being launched “as an enabler not an operator.“
What she meant by that was that while the Duo would be offered to third parties (with service and software update plans), but that Renault wouldn’t only want to exclusively offer the vehicle itself – it is hoping that other companies will integrate it into their already existing schemes, but still pay Renault for maintenance, servicing and software updates. Renault already has the vehicle enrolled in its Zity car sharing scheme that currently operates in four major European cities including Paris.
Renault’s end goal with Mobilize is not to offer ride sharing, but to get other entities to offer it using its vehicles so that it can turn a profit through offering services for those vehicles. The automaker’s priority with Mobilize is to minimise capital investment.
Aside from the Duo, Mobilize also wants to introduce a small electric cargo vehicle that is built on the same underpinnings called the Bento. Both vehicles will be available in the UK through a scheme called Mobilize Share that will operate using Renault’s existing dealer network in the country.
Fedra Ribeiro explains that
Duo is a breakthrough for car-share operators. We have to make sure they have an exceptional experience in finding the car, charging the car, even having fun.