BMW and Mercedes-Benz plan on selling their joint car-sharing business Share Now to Stellantis. The three companies have signed an agreement but agreed to leave the deal’s details undisclosed. The transaction is still subject to approval by the antitrust authorities.
BMW and Mercedes behold that the sale comes at a time of growth and is a move to consolidate. With the sale of Share Now to Stellantis, they intend to focus on digital multimodality (Free Now app) and digital services related to EV charging (Charge Now). They see more significant growth potential in these two areas than capital-intensive car sharing.
Gero Götzenberger, Director of Strategy and Investments at Mercedes-Benz Mobility, said, “With Free Now and Charge Now, we are focusing on two growth segments that will continue to offer our customers the entire range of mobility services in the future and support the expansion of electric mobility.”
“The new orientation enables us to scale our activities faster and thus to achieve further profitable growth in the shortest possible time,” adds Rainer Feurer, Head of Corporate Investments at the BMW Group.
Free Now claims to offer access to almost 180,000 vehicles in over 150 cities, from e-scooters to e-bikes, e-mopeds and car-sharing to taxis and chauffeured vehicles. This year, the company will integrate vehicles from Sixt share, Miles, and Share Now into the app’s booking system.
The Digital Charging Solutions GmbH (DCS), which is behind Charge Now, claims to currently cover more than 85% of Europe’s charging services, more than any other provider.
From Share Now to Stellantis’ Free2Move
Share Now is the child of the 2019 merger of BMW’s Drive Now car-sharing service and its Daimler counterpart Car2Go. For Stellantis, the Share Now acquisition will grow their Free2move service enormously, adding 14 new European cities to Free2move’s seven existing mobility hubs in the United States and Europe.
Free2move comprises a fleet of more than 450,000 cars, 500,000 parking places and a network of 250,000 charging stations. This includes B2B and rental or leasing services. The company runs 2,500 vehicles for car-sharing, with Share Now adding another 10,000 cars to Free2move’s existing car-sharing fleet. It is unclear how many of these are electric. Share Now, at the last count in 2021, ran 2,900 BMW, Mini, Smart and Fiat electric cars.
“Integrating Share Now’s strong position in major European cities will allow our customers to gain greater access to a wider range of services to satisfy their varied mobility needs,” said Brigitte Courtehoux, Free2move CEO. “We are now a step closer to achieving our goal of expanding Free2move’s worldwide presence to 15 million active users by 2030.”
Unlike other providers, Free2move allows clients to use one booking system to take a car for a few minutes or a few hours. If customers like the vehicle longer, they can keep the same vehicle without changing the contract since Free2move pricing automatically adjusts.
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