Deutsche Bahn Railway. Photo Credit: Bahn
Possibly the last place one would expect to find an electric car push is at a German rail operator.
Flinkster Connect, DB partnership. Photo Credit: Bahn
However, such companies have suffered much loss of business as more and more German citizens are purchasing cars.
In the early 90s, there were about 30 million cars on German streets and now there are over 45 million. Not to mention the appearance of services like Uber and BlaBla car providing rides to patrons, along with the rise of car-sharing services.
Deutsche Bahn Director Berthold Huber said:
"We have to be able to offer the best mix of mobility for every individual journey requirement. An unsatisfied customer will sooner or later turn his back on us and look for alternatives. The goal is to extend the availability and offer in other cities too."
The cars will be provided by a partner called "Flinkster Connect." It has become one of the country's top car-sharing services. Bahn currently works with a fleet of 700 electric cars through its subsidiary Flinkster. Now, they are making immediate plans to expand this number and to work to move the service beyond Berlin.
"We've planned the first phase of 'Flinkster Connect' consciously as a test," explained Huber.
The company will only charge €29 (about $41) to add an electric car rental to the train ticket. It will also allow customers to keep the vehicle for up to a week. The hope is that not charging registration and mileage fees will boost this option for many travelers.
Can adding a cheap, electric car option bail out the European railway industry, or are new services and technologies going to eventually take over?