Volkswagen launches Moia for an autonomous, electric and social future

Published: 05 December 2016

► VW launches Moia mobility services
► It's the 13th Volkswagen company
► For lift-sharing, urban e-mobility  

Volkswagen's new Moia brand will spearhead the company's reinvention after dieselgate as an innovator at the cutting edge of urban transportation.

VW's thirteenth brand is named after an ancient Sanskrit word for magic and will specialise in lift-sharing, autonomous cars and electrification.

It's a standalone company headquartered in Berlin - and is designed to operate as a start-up, rather than merely become Wolfsburg's EV specialist in a lumbering, old-school corporate kind of way.

Watch out Uber?

Exactly. That's the mindset - and it's about end-to-end services, not just building cars (as one of the world's biggest vehicle makers, VW's rather good at that bit).

Moia will let users share rides, borrow different types of vehicles for specific journeys and get around cities with a light environmental footprint at affordable prices. Preferably in a VW group vehicle, which will become increasingly electrified (like the ID concept car above) and with autonomous capabilities in the right circumstances.

The company launched at the edgy Tech Crunch Disrupt event in London, a hotbed of start-ups and tech hopefuls.

VW has already invested heavily in Gett, a ride-hailing taxi app. Moia is taking its future mobility ambitions to the next level...

The boss speaks

Ole Harms (below left), CEO of the start-up, said: 'Moia is a standalone company under the Volkswagen Group umbrella, and will develop and market its own mobility services either independently or in partnership with cities and existing transport systems.

Ole Harms (left) and Matthias Mueller of VW

'In parallel, the Group brands will continue to move forward with their own services. Our sights are set on becoming one of the global top players for mobility services in the medium term. To achieve that we will be seeking to attract the best minds and technology start-ups.'

When does Moia launch?

In 2017, with pilot projects in two, as yet-undisclosed cities in Europe. London, where Moia was announced, must surely be in the frame for an early roll-out and Hamburg has signed up for a pilot scheme.

The Volkswagen group CEO Matthias Mueller (above right) said: 'Even though not everyone will still own a car in future, Moia can help make everyone a customer of our company in some way or another.'

Mueller expects a significant proportion of group revenues to come from Moia by 2025.

Would you sign up to have a VW app on your smartphone? That's the gamble Volkswagen is making by launching its new Moia transportation brand. Give us your reaction in the comments below.

Click here for more on the VW ID electric car programme 

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet