Daimler AG and BMW are moving to demonstrate the future of the automobile industry with a series of joint ventures that debuted in February.
The two auto companies created new joint-venture companies, merging their previously launched individual various mobility initiatives into five separate ventures: Reach Now, Charge Now, Park Now, Free Now and Share Now.
The joint efforts are growing, but to make them more efficient and ensure that growth continues, the two companies have created an umbrella organization to house them called Your Now, starting Jan. 1, according to BMW and Daimler officials.
In addition to putting them all under one roof, so to speak, they’ve been pared down to three organizations – Free Now, Share Now and Charge Now – to better focus on their primary functions.
Currently, nearly 90 million people currently use the joint ventures’ mobility services for car-sharing, ride-hailing, parking, electric vehicle charging and multi-modal platforms, which are offered in more than 1,300 cities worldwide.
“As a shareholder, we firmly believe that combining the services into three pillars will strengthen the joint ventures’ impact and focus in a highly competitive, fast-growing environment,” Rainer Feurer, senior vice president investment of BMW Group.
Feurer said the principal shareholders are preparing the next phase of expansion, which will be focused on profitable growth.
The companies are also preparing to launch a separate venture it will call Park Now, which allows customers use an app to search and pay for on- and off-road parking spaces. In 2019, Park Now expanded its leadership in digital parking solutions with 36 million customers in 10 EU countries and the US use the services of the Park Now Group, which handled 230 million transactions with its core brand, plus Parkmobile, RingGo and Parkline, in 2019.
Both shareholders are backing the “Your Now business model and expect to make the joint ventures into a leading force in the mobility market,” according to Franz Reiner, CEO of Daimler Mobility AG.
“We are setting the course for the Your Now joint ventures to achieve sustainable profitability. At the same time, partnerships are increasingly important to success in the marketplace and, in this respect, we are open to further stepping up growth,” he added.
The mislabeled Free Now, formerly mytaxi, is one of Europe’s leading mobility providers, which includes the taxi and ride-hailing services and electric scooter service Hive, is heading for record earnings for 2019. The annual gross merchandise volume or platform revenues will reach more than 2 billion euros – increasing the previous year’s figure significantly.
In 2019, the volume of tours via the platform was up 120% from 2018. More than 39 million passengers took advantage of the services provided by more than 800,000 affiliated drivers. Growth was also driven in part by the highly successful launch in Mexico City and Kapten in London, as well as expansion of the car rental service “Ride” in Germany, which allows customers to book a rental car with a licensed driver at a fixed rate.
Additional mobility services, such as e-scooters, electric bikes, car-sharing and public transport will also be integrated into the app, alongside its core ride-hailing business. This integration of multimodal mobility offerings builds on Reach Now’s expertise in pooling several mobility services, with booking options, on a single platform, the companies note. The services are currently used by more than 7 million people in 20 cities worldwide.
The free-floating car-sharing provider Share Now, which has emerged from Daimler’s car2go and BMW’s DriveNow, continues. It registered about 1 million new customers since the start of the year. With the addition of Paris in January and Budapest in April, it has expanded its European footprint in 2019 to include two major capitals. In the future, the focus will be on cities that promise long-term profitable growth. A review is currently underway to determine where reorganization may be needed.
At the same time, the car-sharing business is being systematically further developed and the successful integration of the two services continues.
Charge Now is Europe’s leading aggregator of charging infrastructure and therefore a key driver for higher market penetration of electric mobility. The venture’s charging services already provide access to 85% of the European charging network in 30 European markets. It comprises more than 130,000 charge points and contracts with around 400 charge point operators. In Germany alone, Charge Now achieves 98% market coverage.
Charge Now is provided by Digital Charging Solutions GmbH, which also develops individual, tailor-made charging solutions for other automotive manufacturers and fleet operators.