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Car-sharing platform Amber will offer its users in Eindhoven the possibility to pick up and leave the cars anywhere in the city. As of today, individuals and companies can take or leave an Amber anywhere in the municipality, within a five-minute walk. “In our hometown Eindhoven we are testing and optimizing our renewed service,” says Amber’s Bas van Vugt. “Then we roll it out nationwide.

In doing so, Amber wants to strike two blows at once: the service, which until now was mainly aimed at companies, must become available to everyone and it is no longer necessary to drive to a specific ‘hub’ for the collection and delivery of the car. For the time being, it’s a test, says Van Vugt: “To be able to comply with the warranty, we depend on a number of factors: sufficient cars, efficiency, and good technology”. In addition, there must be enough employees to ensure that a car is actually in the right place at the right time.

Amber now has five employees driving around in the Eindhoven region for this purpose on a daily basis. “But we are flexible in this. We can scale up and down quickly. We know Eindhoven and we know that it is logistically possible to get a car to the right place within one hour. This is a completely new chapter for us.”

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    145 Ambers

    The corona crisis hit Amber hard because there was much less business traffic. The company now hopes to absorb part of that loss through a stronger focus on private individuals. The trial in Eindhoven is aimed precisely at that group: the new service should eliminate the hassle of looking for a car, as well as the fear of “missing out”.

    Amber currently has a hub in 31 Dutch locations. These are partly private and partly public hubs. There are a total of 145 cars ready for customers. According to Van Vugt, scaling up internationally is one of the next goals. “But we haven’t yet reached the point where we can offer our Ambers outside the Netherlands yet.”

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    Author profile picture Bart Brouwers is co-founder and co-owner of Media52 BV, the publisher of innovationorigins.com.