Nathaniel Kobza, Electrek.co, September 23, 2016
Today at High Tech XL in the Netherlands, Amber Mobility unveiled their weekly €33 ($37) subscription based service that will allow users to find a shared electric vehicle, called the Amber One, whenever, and wherever for their business or personal use. Unlike the ride-sharing concept that Spiri envisions, Amber Mobility hopes to offer the public the ability to ‘own’ an EV, without actually owning it.
Amber Mobility’s mission is to offer ‘freedom’ to their consumers:
“Cars are the second most expensive thing we buy. Yet we hardly use them. Our precious cars are standing idle 23 of the 24 hours in a day. Owning a car, apart from a few exceptions, is no fun. Cars are expensive – gas, insurance, taxes, parking, which all sums up to 520 euros ($580) per month – and need a lot of maintenance.
Why then do people want to own cars? Freedom! Amber is offering the freedom to use a car when and where you want without the need for ownership. This is following the trend set by Spotify and others where people pay for on demand satisfaction and not for ownership. Amber is going to give you Guaranteed Mobility. For 33 euro’s a week customers have access to a car whenever and wherever they need it.”
A few quick facts about their Amber One car, according to TechCrunch, include the following:
- 250 miles (400 km) of range
- Top speed of 93 mph (150 kmh)
- 0-60 mph (0-100 kmh) in about 7 seconds
- And of course the weekly subscription of €33 ($37) for 24/7 use
- Modularity, so the vehicles can easily be upgraded to the “latest and greatest” tech
- Plans for semi and full autonomous capabilities
Image: prototype design of the Amber One via TechCrunch
Dubbed ‘Corporate Mobility,’ Amber has a partnership with “leasing giant” Athlon and ABN AMRO bank whom they are collaborating with to start their service with companies in order to “test and develop a service” as a precursor to their public program called ‘Guaranteed Mobility’ that will launch in 2018. They are in talks with companies including NXP, ASML, Philips and others, for the program which will most likely start next month in Eindhoven, Netherlands, with their “Corporate Mobility hub on the High Tech Campus.”
Other than the central corporate hub, the two programs should work very similar and something like how it is described on their webpage:
“Within half an hour and within walking distance, there will always be a car available. With your phone you can easily locate, unlock and start it. When you get in all your personal settings are transferred to this car. You drive “your car” to where you need to go. Upon arrival, you check out and leave the car. No need to return it. We offer freedom and flexibility far beyond owning a car.”
Half and hour is kind of long, especially if someone is in a hurry, but in addition to that, there are still quite a few questions that remain unanswered such as where consumers will go if the car doesn’t have enough charge, if the car they have needs sudden maintenance, or how they’ll guarantee that there will always be a vehicle available? All these questions will surely be addressed as the company further develops and matures.
Lastly, while not necessarily a new idea, along with the eventual launch from Spiri, Autolib in Paris has had a very comparable service for a few years already. So only time will tell if Amber Mobility’s unique features and business model will be successful, and we eagerly await to see how it pans out!
First look at Amber Mobility and their PDF info sheet from High Tech XL: