Skip to main content

Buy an A3, get an R8 for the weekend with Audi’s new car-sharing app (some fees may apply)

audi readying first u s car sharing app unite 1094x729
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Want to drive an R8 for a weekend? Well, soon – thanks to Audi’s forthcoming car sharing app – you might be able to.

Over a lunch conversation at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show this week, Audi of America President Scott Keogh revealed that the German automaker is preparing to release its first car-sharing app in the U.S.

Unlike current car sharing programs offered by Car2Go or BMW, the Audi program wouldn’t offer up the keys to a fleet of share-only vehicles but rather as a pay-as-you-go additional extra to Audi owners.

“Let’s say you’re an A6 owner,” Keogh proposed, “and you have a big business meeting later in the week and want to look like a boss and arrive in an R8. This app would let you do that.”

Though Keogh was scarce on exact details, as best as I can put together, the app would allow Audi owners to logon, choose an Audi they wish to drive, the amount of time, and it would then charge them a one-time fee for the vehicle loan, rather than a monthly subscription fee. “It’s essentially a premium rental program,” Keogh admitted.

This would be ideal for more than just drivers keen to get behind the wheel of the brand’s latest sports- or super-cars. If A3-owning urbanites need a big, family-hauling SUV for the weekend, they could swap out their compact sedan for a Q7, too.

When pressed on what other car sharing avenues Audi America might venture down, Keogh conceded he could also see a future in which condominium buildings might offer Audis as an amenity to ownership. “With your condo you get a pool and one of five Audis to drive.”

That said, Keogh did not see a viable business model in Audi sustaining a fleet of share-only cars, much like Car2Go, nor did he see Sweden’s ‘Audi Unite’ shared ownership program working in America.

So it looks like, with the Audi car-sharing app on your smartphone, you still might be able to get to drive all the latest Audis after all … you’ll just have to buy one first.

Nick Jaynes
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Nick Jaynes is the Automotive Editor for Digital Trends. He developed a passion for writing about cars working his way…
With 1,800 horsepower, Bugatti’s Tourbillon brings plug-ins past the Prius
The Bugatti Tourbillon is a plug-in hybrid.

Plug-in hybrid technology has reached the automotive industry’s upper echelon. Bugatti has unveiled the Tourbillon, the long-awaited successor to the Chiron, with a gasoline-electric drivetrain rated at 1,800 horsepower, 3D-printed parts in the suspension, and an unusual sound system that has no speakers.

Bugatti developed the Tourbillon on a blank slate. The big coupe’s proportions are relatively close to the Chiron’s because the two cars need to fulfill a similar mission: cruise safely and comfortably at jaw-dropping speeds. Bugatti hints that hitting 250-plus-mph is well within the Tourbillon’s scope of capabilities. For context, the Chiron set a speed record and became the first car to break the 300-mph barrier when it reached 304 mph in 2019, so the brand knows a thing or two about speed.

Read more
Tesla has teased three new cars — but what are they?
Tesla Roadster

Tesla is expanding its lineup. We've known for some time that Tesla has been working on two new models, but at a recent shareholders meeting, CEO Elon Musk showed off a slide that showed three cars under a white sheet -- suggesting that there are actually three new Tesla vehicles in the pipeline. The new models will expand its consumer lineup to eight cars -- which will hopefully mean that the company offers something for everyone.

But what are those new vehicles? Of course, there's still a lot we don't know about the new Tesla models. However, Tesla itself has offered some information --- and plenty of rumors have also surfaced about what the company is potentially working on.

Read more
EVs may produce more emissions during manufacturing, but they quickly catch up
european cars getting bigger engines emissions car pollution smog

Electric vehicles are here in full force, and while they're still more expensive than their gas-powered counterparts, prices are slowly, but surely coming down. In fact, EVs are likely to be just as affordable as internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles in the next few years. But like anything, there are pros and cons to buying an EV over an ICE vehicle. For example, on average, it's cheaper to charge an electric vehicle than to fill the gas tank of an ICE vehicle -- not to mention the lower costs of maintenance.

At face value, having a smaller impact on the environment is also a tick in the EV column. But as many have been rightfully pointing out, the impact that EVs have on the environment is a little more complicated than the simple fact that they're not using gasoline and themselves emitting carbon dioxide. For example, what about the emissions involved with manufacturing an electric vehicle compared to a gas-powered vehicle? What about the materials in those huge batteries?

Read more