Bosch Wants You to Use Its E-Vans to Bring Home the New Fridge

(Bloomberg) -- Splurging at the local houseware store may soon get easier for German city dwellers, who often struggle to get their bulky purchases home.

Robert Bosch GmbH will start an electric-van sharing service in Germany in December at five home-improvement stores called “toom,” operated by food retailer Rewe Group. Customers can book the vehicle by the hour either ahead of time or on-demand via an app, according to a statement Tuesday.

Bosch’s foray into electric-van sharing takes the world’s biggest automotive supplier further into the growing shared mobility market, putting it into competition with its customers like Volkswagen AG. Bosch picked two no-frills van models, the Work and Work XL, from StreetScooter. These were co-developed by Deutsche Post AG after Germany’s postal service couldn’t find what it needed at Daimler AG or VW.

“Sharing of electric vans has great growth potential,” said Rainer Kallenbach, head of Bosch’s mobility solutions unit. “Fully electric driving is ideal for urban mobility – whether that means downtown delivery traffic or individual mobility in major cities.”

Bosch already operates electric-scooter sharing services in Berlin, Paris and Madrid.

Bosch will initially offer one van in each toom store in the German cities of Berlin, Frankfurt, Leipzig, Troisdorf und Freiburg, with the option to extend the service to more stores and other retailers selling bulky items such as furniture.

Toom sells products ranging from wood-burning stoves and paint to bathtubs and garden benches in 330 stores in Germany. The cost of using a vehicle starts at 12.99 euros ($14.90) per hour and the van has to be returned to the retailer at the end of the rental.

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