German rivals BMW and Daimler said Friday that they've merged their car-share operations in a bid to challenge Lyft, Uber, and others in the burgeoning mobility sector. BMW and Daimler, which owns Mercedes-Benz, invest $1.1 billion combined into the joint venture.
The cooperation is organized into five global units: Reach Now, Charge Now, Park Now, Free Now, and Share Now.
Reach Now bundles public transportation, car sharing, ride hailing, and eBikes into one unit. Two other units also handle various mobility operations. Free Now provides mobility services for taxis, private drivers, rental cars, and e-scooters. Daimler and BMW said Free Now is already one of the largest ride-hailing services in Europe and Latin America with 21 million customers and 250,000 drivers. Share Now handles car sharing services. Users can rent and pay for cars anywhere via the mobile application. With the investment, the fleet will expand to provide more vehicles for the four million customers who currently use the service. Currently, Share Now operates in 31 cities with 20,000 cars.
The final two services Daimler and BMW offer are Charge Now and Park Now. The former is the duo's charging network for electric cars and the goal is to develop standardized access to charging points around the world. Right now, there are 100,000 charging stations in 25 countries. Park Now helps users locate and pay for parking via an app. Drivers can manage their parking spots, add time, and pay for parking without needing a ticket for a cash-less experience. The two hope to curb parking congestion on streets and in public garages.
Both companies plan to create 1,000 new jobs with the merging of its mobility operations. In the future, the services expect to offer a range of electric and self-driving cars that further connect with other modes of transportation.