“Carsharing Will Continue to Grow”: An Interview with Vulog’s CEO Gregory Ducongé
Vulog’s CEO Gregory Ducongé recently contributed his thoughts about the current developments and future trends in the car sharing market for Augustin Friedel‘s latest publication “Free Floating Car Sharing Report”. Here is the full interview:
Since 2006, Vulog has been pioneering and leading technology solutions for shared mobility. Their AiMA (SaaS) platform powers 30 large scale carsharing projects across 5 continents, doubling to 60 in 2020. As trusted mobility transformation partner of 7 major OEMs (including Hyundai-Kia, PSA Group and Volkswagen), the French HQ-ed international company benefits from an unparallelled position to provide expert insight on current carsharing trends. This is why I invited Gregory Ducongé, CEO of Vulog to share his perspectives in the following interview.
What is your perspective on the evolution of the car sharing market in 2020?
Despite what you will read in the press – as it’s often easier to captivate an audience by writing about failures – the market is growing and the trend is very strong. Players from many different industries are positioning themselves on this fast growing market, including carmakers that have taken the lead in Europe but also dealerships/distributor, insurance and energy service companies to name a few.
The forces driving this massive movement are plentiful: environmental consciousness, the rise of the sharing economy, digital behaviors amongst millenials and the need for accessibility in transportation, combined with industry related priorities, namely CO2 regulations and the electrification of fleets (need to sell more EVs), etc. Cities now understand the benefits of promoting sustainable mobility solutions and are increasingly creating a favorable regulatory environment to make it easier for shared mobility operators to launch new initiatives.
We often hear that reaching profitability is hard for carsharing operators. How do you respond to that?
To be profitable in this business, it is all about execution. Communauto in Canada or Mobility Swiss in Switzerland, both station-based services operating around 3000 cars each, have been in this business for around 20 years and have grown profitable. Brigitte Courtehoux, VP Free2Move at Groupe PSA, recently publicly announced that their emov by Free2Move free-floating carsharing service in Madrid (600 electric vehicles) is now officially profitable.
At Vulog we are helping our customers reach profitability by providing the right technology and tools to deliver the best customer experience and optimize operations. We have identified the 7 key ingredients to launch and manage a successful carsharing business in our #VulogInsights white paper including: going for the right fleet volume and density, offering flexibility in booking models (instant-access and booking) as well as vehicles (multi-modal offer including cars,mopeds, kick scooters, bikes and more) and, of course, leveraging the data to optimize daily operations, better serve your customers and scale easily.
What is the advantage for a mobility operator in choosing a third-party to provide the technology to operate their service?
First and foremost, cost optimization. Operators should not underestimate the resources needed to develop and maintain an end-to-end technology solution required to power a large scale, shared mobility service. Even if you only need one certain “piece” of the solution, the energy and resources involved must not be underestimated. Recruiting a new team means starting from scratch and lots of “trial and error”. Why do that when, right off the bat, you can launch with a robust, secured, “tested & approved” solution managed by a team of over 100 dedicated and experienced developers?
Secondly, as seen in the “7 Key Ingredients” report, flexibility and scalability are also crucial to attract and retain customers. From providing a seamless user experience, to multi-business models or multi-modal fleets in multiple cities within one single app, choosing an open and agnostic platform like Vulog’s is your best bet.
Last but not least, opening the path to a new era in customer experience and profitability with smart fleet operations. This can only be achieved by leveraging data with an expert technology partner who is present worldwide and fully proficient in artificial intelligence.