What's the news?
Skoda has launched Uniqway, a micro-hire service aimed directly at university students. It's a potentially huge market for car makers - there are an estimated 2.2-million university students in the UK, and 225,000 in Ireland, most of whom don't have the funds to own and drive a car. They might well have the funds to use Uniqway, though, as it's going to be pretty cheap.
In its initial rollout, Skoda says that hiring one of its cars will cost just €1.16 per hour, and 19c per kilometre. That fee can even go down a bit, if you're using the car for a longer time, or travelling a longer distance.
Students, and university faculty members, can sign up for the scheme and download an app to their smartphones. Rental time and travel distance is then tracked through, and paid for in the app. Pick up and drop off points for the car are available in assigned areas near university buildings, halls of residence and free parking areas around the city.
Uniqway is the first mobility service of its kind in Europe and has been developed by the car manufacturer in collaboration with university students. Skoda's innovation centre, DigiLab, oversaw the project and helped students to develop the app as well as the design and marketing for the service. DigiLab is the Czech car manufacturer's central workshop for developing new mobility services and technology. DigiLab is working with progressive global start-ups, innovative enterprises, universities and innovation centres from all over the world.
The project is now in operation across three university campuses in Prague. Uniqway utilises a fleet of Skoda Fabias that were: "Chosen to support the scheme due to their advanced connectivity features, excellent fuel economy and compact size for city driving."
No word as yet on when or if Skoda plans to introduce the Uniqway service here in Ireland, but we'll keep you posted.