Would you pay a subscription fee to have a car on-demand whenever you want? Amber Mobility is experimenting with a new electric car sharing service called Amber One, which gives users access to a fleet of electric vehicles.
The service will cost €33 (around $37) per week, which isn't exactly cheap. However, that price allows you to rent Amber Mobility's fleet of electric vehicles (EVs) that have a 250-mile range on a single charge and a top speed of 93 miles per hour.
0-60 takes around 7 seconds, which is pretty quick for a small city car. Plus, you won't have to worry about insurance and maintenance like you do when you own a car.
Amber One is entering production in 2018, but the company will launch prototype vehicles next year. The company's pilot program will begin in Eindhoven in the Netherlands, where the company is based, and will offer a fleet of 400 cars. Corporate partners will get first crack at the EV subscription service, but the consumer service is expected to roll out in 2018.
Ride when you want to
The EV is built on a modular platform so Amber Mobility can continue to update its fleet with new parts, helping the car stay modern.
According to the company, its EV was designed to be a connected car from the ground up, with tight integration of its hardware and software. "Integrating the hardware and the service will set us apart from the competition," reads Amber Mobility's site.
You also won't have to return the your rental to a specific location. Just "check out" of the car, like you would a hotel room, in an app and leave the car where it is. When it's time to rent another again, Amber Mobility's app will help you find a vehicle that's "within half an hour and within walking distance." It's unclear how Amber Mobility will distribute its cars across a city to ensure they're easily within reach of all users.
Amber Mobility will monitor the fleet using its demand predicting software and will redistribute cars where needed.
"During the day more cars are needed in the city," Amber Mobility founder Merien ten Houten tells TechRadar. "So we will move some cars back into the city. Later in the day we will move them back to the industrial areas."
Amber Mobility eventually wants to phase out drivers altogether by upgrading its fleet to be fully autonomous. This will help the company reduce costs for insurance and repairs.
But with ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft, does it make sense for users to pay a subscription fee for access to a car? For those who live in a city with good public transportation system and ride-sharing services, it might not make sense.
According to ten Houten, the Netherlands is unique because its population isn't as dense as Paris or London. This makes the country less ideal for public transportation and ride sharing, so Amber One may be the perfect method for getting around without the hassle of owning a car.
- 11 best apps to use in your car