BMW Group and Daimler are preparing for a future where car ownership, especially in major cities, could become a thing of the past.
The two German auto giants announced a year ago plans to merge their existing mobility services into a global joint-venture company, and on Friday they finally provided the first details on what the new company, which is yet to receive a name, will entail.
The long-term goal is to develop a single, all-encompassing app to handle transport needs, including the integration of public transport services and, when the technology is ready, the services of fleets of fully self-driving electric cars.
Self-driving Mercedes-Benz S-Class prototype
For now, though, the company will focus on the following five services:
Reach Now: Offers multiple options to get you from A to B, such as hailing a ride, using public transport or renting a bike.
Free Now: A ride-hail service that includes taxis, private chauffeurs, and rides on electric scooters.
Share Now: Car sharing where users can locate, book and pay for the use of cars by smartphone—anytime, anywhere. The existing fleet has more than 20,000 cars in 31 cities around the world.
Charge Now: Helps EV users locate, use and pay for charging, both at home and abroad. The network already has 100,000 charge points spread across 25 countries.
Park Now: Shows drivers the best possible parking solutions at a glance, and then allows them to reserve parking slots and manage their parking times, and enables ticketless entry and exit in public garages as well as cashless payment for ticketed street parking.
BMW Group CEO Harald Krüger (left) and Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche
Clearly ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft are a target for BMW and Daimler’s merged mobility company. And since the long-term goal is to integrate fully self-driving cars into the mix, once the technology is ready, it means companies like Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo and General Motors’ GM Cruise businesses are also a target.
“We have a clear vision: these five services will merge ever more closely to form a single mobility service portfolio with an all-electric, self-driving fleet of vehicles that charge and park autonomously and interconnect with the other modes of transport,” BMW CEO Harald Krüger said.
BMW and Daimler are investing a combined $ 1.1 billion in the new company and plan to create more than 1,000 jobs worldwide. Further cooperations with other providers, including stakes in startups and established players, are also a possible option, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said.
It isn’t clear when the company’s services will be offered in the United States, though individual services of Daimler and BMW are already offered here, such as Daimler’s Car2Go and BMW’s DriveNow car-sharing, and these will likely be replaced by services of the new merged company shortly.