Silvia Barcik, Itaú-Unibanco: VEC Itau launches EV car sharing
Latin America banking giant Itaú-Unibanco is currently piloting a mobility program known as VEC Itaú, an electric vehicle (EV) sharing service based on its Tembici bike sharing system which is already being offered in several cities throughout South America.
While VEC Itaú is currently testing the program for the general public in São Paulo (Brazil), it is also eying collaboration with vehicle rental and leasing agencies as well as OEM dealerships. Shedding light on the subject in today's interview is Silvia Barcik, a 23-year veteran of the automotive industry who heads VEC Itaú.
Besides being a specialist in urban mobility and transportation systems in Latin America, including those associated with EV and MaaS (Mobility as a Service), she is also the director for Brazilian electric vehicle association ABVE.
Could you explain how the service works and give us an idea of the cost?
Barcik: To use the service, a per-minute, daily or weekend fee will be charged in addition to a small vehicle access fee.
Unlocking vehicles for use takes place through a mobile phone app which was created through a partnership with Ucorp. The startup is responsible for the app, including its platform development, connectivity infrastructure, and logistics operation.
To streamline driver usage, each vehicle has a ConectCar sticker for automatic passage through toll booths and at parking lots. As for pricing, we are still in the pilot phase so it is yet to be defined.
For now, it is available to approximately 500 Itaú employees but we expect the service to be expanded in the final months of 2021.
Which vehicle models are available under your sharing program and do you expect other options soon?
Barcik: The 100% EV models currently available under the project include the Jaguar I-Pace, BMW i3 and JAC iEV40, all planned since the launch of the project in late 2020. Recently arriving to complement our sharing fleet has been the Nissan Leaf.
To expand its portfolio of EVs and alternatives to improve customer experience, Itaú is open to forming new partnerships.
VEC Itaú station (source: VEC Itaú)
Speaking of partnerships, could you tell me a little about Itaú's partnership with Enel X?
Barcik: Enel X is currently responsible for the electrical points at the EV charging stations made available in the Vec Itaú project. For now, during the pilot phase which started in June, stations are located in administrative units of which the bank manages in the city of São Paulo.
Is station-less mobility sharing an option for the VEC Itaú service?
Barcik: The world is constantly changing and the way people move around in big cities continues to evolve as well. The station-less model, also known as free-floating, offers greater flexibility to the customer but it has greater complexity in the operation.
We want to closely follow society's trends and the current model we have chosen is known as “One way”. It is a model which is successfully being used as the Itaú (station based) bike sharing scheme which serves as a viable alternative or complement to the use of other modes.
Itaú is putting its financial expertise to work, serving people with a model boasting strategic partnerships with automakers, rental companies, energy distributors, startups, and other players in the ecosystem.
In addition to stimulating the EV market in Brazil, I'd like to wrap up by saying that our aim is to give added value to our customers by providing an innovative experience which is not only high-tech, but safe and sustainable.