BMW and Daimler, two of the biggest German automakers, are partnering and investing $1 billion into an effort to create all-electric on-demand autonomous mobility.

In short, the partnership consists of pooling several of their existing mobility services together into joint ventures:

  • REACH NOW for multimodal services
  • CHARGE NOW for charging
  • FREE NOW for taxi ride-hailing
  • PARK NOW for parking
  • SHARE NOW for car-sharing.

Eventually, they hope that all these services combined will enable all-electric on-demand autonomous mobility.

Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, commented on the move:

“Our mobility services have developed a strong customer base and we are now taking the next strategic step. We are pooling the strength and expertise of 14 successful brands and investing more than €1 billion to establish a new player in the fast-growing market for urban mobility. By creating an intelligent network of joint ventures, we will be able to shape current and future urban mobility and draw maximum benefit from the opportunities opened up by digitalization, shared services and the increasing mobility needs of our customers. Further cooperations with other providers, including stakes in startups and established players, are also a possible option.”

Harald Krüger, Management Board Chairman of BMW AG, added:

“We are creating a leading global game changer. The 60 million customers we already have today will benefit from a seamlessly integrated, sustainable ecosystem of car-sharing, ride-hailing, parking, charging and multimodal transport services. 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. This service portfolio will be a key cornerstone in our strategy as a mobility provider. The cooperation is the perfect way for us to maximize our chances in a growing market, while sharing the investments.”

The two automakers say that the combined programs already have 60 million active customers to date.

With the new $1 billion investment, BMW and Daimler plan to rapidly grow the effort and create up to 1,000 new jobs.

Here BMW and Daimler describe each joint-venture and give a status update on them:

  • REACH NOW offers more than 6.7 million users simple, direct access to a range of mobility services through a single multimodal platform. The 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. REACH NOW will be managed by Daniela Gerd tom Markotten as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), with Johannes Prantl as Chief Financial Officer (CFO).
  • CHARGE NOW is a service by Digital Charging Solutions GmbH (DCS), and its comprehensive charging network is a key contributor to zero-emissions driving. CHARGE NOW makes public charge points quick and easy to locate, use and pay for, both at home and abroad. Digital Charging Solutions GmbH develops simple, standardised access to public charge points for car manufacturers and fleet operators. With over 100,000 charge points across 25 countries, its white-label solutions are helping OEMs and fleet operators to realise their strategies for electric mobility. Customers 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.
  • PARK NOW makes parking easier, on-street or off. The innovative digital parking service offers users the best possible parking solutions at a glance, 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. In addition, with the search for parking currently accounting for about 30 percent of the traffic on urban roads, PARK NOW is helping towns and cities to reduce traffic volumes, thereby helping to make city centres cleaner, healthier and more liveable. In Europe and North America over 30 million customers are already using the service in more than 1,100 cities. CHARGE NOW and PARK NOW are headed by Jörg Reimann as CEO, with Thomas Menzel as CFO.
  • 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, who make a valuable contribution to the reduction of traffic in city centres. FREE NOW is headed by Marc Berg as CEO, with Sebastian Hofelich as CFO.
  • SHARE NOW is a free-floating car-sharing service that allows customers to rent and pay for vehicles by smartphone — anytime, anywhere. Its fleet will now 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. Car-sharing increases vehicle utilization rates, helping to cut the overall number of cars on the roads in urban areas. Olivier Reppert has been appointed CEO of SHARE NOW, with Stefan Glebke as CFO.


Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.

About the Author