A partnership between fleet and mobility software provider, Sofico, and electric vehicle sharing specialist, BattMobility, has produced its first deliverable product – a vehicle reservation app for BattMobility customers to select, book and drive one of BattMobility’s electric cars, bikes or scooters.
Sofico sees the new app as a key part of its product development road map. Similar solutions for mobility services are increasingly sought by its customer base amidst the ongoing movement from car ownership to car usership and multi-modal mobility solutions.
The two companies began working together late last year to create a car-sharing platform and reservation app for BattMobility, which is aimed at providing greater mobility options for both private and business customers in the local community.
Each BattMobility vehicle has a fixed charging point and a community of typically four to six primary users within the vicinity, yet remains optionally accessible to other members in the broader BattMobility network. The app provides users with an overview of the available vehicles, either instantly or scheduled for a later date, and is used to start and end the booking, as well as opening the car to access the keys.
The app pinpoints the location and the battery level of the vehicle and allows photos of the vehicle’s condition to be relayed to BattMobility. To facilitate coordination of adjacent shares, the details of previous and next users can be accessed, and users can communicate directly with each other about the vehicle or handover via in-app chat.
Sofico appointed a dedicated team of designers and developers to work on the new platform and app with complete autonomy, but with the brief to closely adhere to the cloud-native micro-services architecture that underpins its mainstream Miles software solution. This team operated, engaged, and performed with the mindset and energy of a dynamic start-up company.
Chief Technical Officer Piet Maes said the car-sharing app was an important development for the business with many of its customers looking to capitalize on the growing mobility trend of putting more people in fewer vehicles. “With the shift away from ownership towards usership, it is no longer about the vehicle but increasingly about the driver experience,” he said. “Car manufacturers are reinventing themselves as mobility service providers by bundling subscription models with driver-oriented services and peer-to-peer sharing, as part of a move towards on-demand instant access to vehicles.
“Meanwhile, fleet and leasing operators want to manage the usage of their vehicles with greater and different granularity, ranging from minutes to years. In addition to long term products, they are also increasingly offering ultra-short term rental and car-sharing services to their fleet customers,” he said. “This new app fulfills a strategic need for us and allows us to offer the same car-sharing and mobility functionality to other Sofico customers – either as a complement to the Miles core proposition or as a completely stand-alone point solution.”
Maes added that BattMobility’s exclusive use of electric vehicles had also played a part in the decision to partner with them. “With EU CO2 standards converging towards zero-emissions in the 2030s, according to the European Green Deal, it seems logical for smart shared mobility to go hand in hand with widespread electrification of vehicles. “For these reasons, we believe it is of strategic importance to support local initiatives in sustainable mobility, like BattMobility, which offer an innovative multi-modal sharing model, exclusive focus on EVs, locally-embedded trusted mobility networks and a clear vision on the future of mobility that is in tune with our own. Now they also have access to the innovative technology to match that vision, allowing them to scale up and become truly impactful,” he said.