BMW Group and Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler AG, two fierce rivals in the luxury car market, are joining forces to face the likes of Uber and Lyft by pooling their resources in a joint effort to provide a wide range of mobility services, using each other existing assets as the foundation.
The new venture valued at US$1.13 billion will take the form of five separate companies: ChargeNow, FreeNow, ParkNow, ReachNow and ShareNow, each focusing respectively on electric car charging, ride-hailing, ticket-free parking, multimodal travel and car-sharing.
The numbers are quite impressive.
ShareNow is the result of merging car-sharing services DriveNow of BMW and Daimler’s Car2Go. The company is expected to deploy in the short term a 20,000-vehicle fleet consisting of BMW, Mini, Mercedes-Benz and Smart models across 31 cities worldwide.
FreeNow, envisioned to establish a ride-hailing service, will draw assets from existing platforms such as MyTaxi and Beat, which just started operations in Mexico City. FreeNow will be supported by 250,000 drivers that already serve more than 21 million customers in Europe and Latin America.
ChargeNow will provide electric car users quick and easy access to more than 100,000 charge points from over 250 charge point operators (CPOs) across 25 countries.
The ParkNow ticket-free parking service allows to reserve parking slots and manage parking times, enables ticketless entry and exit in public garages as well as cashless payment of parking fees. The company already serve more than 30 million customers globally in 1,100 cities across Europe and North America.
Each company will have its own CEO with the two automakers overseeing the strategies but without interfering in their operations, just as shareholders.
The joint ventures are expected to create around 1,000 new jobs worldwide, most of them focused in research and development of initiatives around self-driving and electric vehicles.
Not every mobility asset was poured in the melting pot. One of the projects that were left out of the venture is the driverless taxi pilot program that Daimler and Bosch plan to launch in the second half of 2019.