BMW Group and Daimler AG are pooling their mobility services to create a new global player for sustainable urban mobility. According to a report from BMW Group, the two companies are investing more than €1 billion in total to develop and integrate their offerings for car-sharing, ride-hailing, parking, charging, and multimodal transport.
The cooperation comprises five joint ventures and their apps and services: REACH NOW for multimodal services, CHARGE NOW for charging, FREE NOW for taxi ride-hailing, PARK NOW for parking, and SHARE NOW for car-sharing.
“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,” said Harald Krüger, Management Board Chairman of BMW AG.
The REACH NOW service offers more than 6.7 million users simple, direct access to a range of mobility services through a single multimodal platform, according to the report. REACH NOW apps will offer a range of options for getting from A to B, allowing users to book and pay directly for public transport and various other mobility options, such as car-sharing, ride-hailing, and bike rentals.
CHARGE NOW makes public charge points quick and easy to locate, use, and pay for—both at home and abroad. Its maker, Digital Charging Solutions GmbH, develops simple, standardized access to public charge points for car manufacturers and fleet operators. Customers stand to benefit from cross-border access to one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing charging networks, with over 250 charge point operators (CPOs) to date.
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PARK NOW makes parking easier, on-street or off. It offers users the optimal parking solutions at a glance and 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 of parking fees. The search for parking currently accounts for about 30 percent of the traffic on urban roads, says the BMW report, PARK NOW could help reduce traffic volumes to make city centers cleaner, healthier, and more livable. In Europe and North America over 30 million customers are already using the service in more than 1,100 cities.
FREE NOW offers a variety of mobility services including taxis, private chauffeurs with rental vehicles, and state-of-the-art e-scooters, all at the tap of a finger. One of the largest ride-hailing services in Europe and Latin America, FREE NOW already serves more than 21 million customers and over 250,000 drivers.
SHARE NOW is a free-floating car-sharing service that allows customers to rent and pay for vehicles by smartphone. Its fleet will be extended to incorporate a wider range of models and increase market coverage. More than 4 million customers in total currently use the fleet’s 20,000 vehicles in 31 cities around the world, says BMW Group.
BMW’s report states that cities are where the future of mobility will be decided. BMW and Daimler have chosen Berlin as the base for the organization’s headquarters. The next few years will see up to 1,000 new jobs created worldwide, including in Berlin and Germany, says the report.
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Mark Miller is a contributing writer to SAE International. He has worked as a technology writer and editor for IBM and other advanced information technology firms. His areas of concentration include artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, analytics and Internet of Things technologies.