Automakers seem to be in a frenzy now a days. Most are investing in self-driving tech and the few that aren’t (and many that are) are pumping in resources to create car sharing units. Volvo has jumped the bandwagon as well and is creating a dedicated business unit focused upon the car sharing business.
The new unit is based upon Sunfleet, which is a rather subdued car sharing unit that Volvo has operated since almost two decades. Despite all the time Sunfleet has been active, Volvo never really expanded it aggressively. Till date, the company operates only in 50 cities in Sweden. It has a respectable subscriber base in the country though, with over 50,000 consumers cumulatively using over 1,200 Volvo vehicles.
Sunfleet is a station based service. What that means is that the car is parked at a certain place and you must return it there once you have finished using it. In order to book a vehicle from Sunfleet, you must first go to their website and register for a car. Registering allows users to gain access to the car location, and the associated application allows them to unlock the car as well.
Once you unlock the car, it is a simple matter of finding the key within the glove box. What’s more, you can expect state of the art technology and maintenance with the cars considering that they are rotated frequently and replaced with new Volvos every now and then.
Sunfleet also allows you to rent a car for single use, or even become a monthly subscriber. You can also just take the vehivle out for the weekend, if there is a trip you have on your mind. All in all, the service has been providing users with a relatively comfortable and premium way of gaining access to cars whenever they need it.
Volvo is planning to take its Sunfleet platform global. Judging by the fact that its been around for so long, we can safely assume that its good. However, the timing of the global launch is very suggestive. I mean if Volvo didn’t go global with it back in the nineties or the early 2000s — when the concept would have been novel, why do it now when there are plenty of competitors and options like Uber?
Unless of course, Volvo’s ambitions also involve a fleet without drivers. The company is one of those auto manufacturers who are attempting to come up with self-driving cars and as such, it shouldn’t be cause for surprise if Sunfleet becomes one of the places where Volvo decides to use the technology.
However, all that is pure speculation. We will have to wait for an official announcement on the topic to know more. The company has promised to release further news in the near future.