Mercedes-Benz Mobility and BMW Group intend to sell their car-sharing joint venture SHARE NOW to Stellantis. The three companies recently signed an agreement to this effect and agreed not to disclose the details of the transaction. It is also subject to the approval of the relevant antitrust authorities.
SHARE NOW was established in 2019 combines the DNA of car2go, which was developed by the former Daimler AG, and DriveNow, the BMW Group’s offering. Together, both shareholders have developed SHARE NOW into the market leader in Europe and continuously developed it further, including new offers such as long-term car sharing.
With the acquisition of SHARE NOW, Stellantis’ mobility subsidiary Free2move would have the opportunity to expand its car sharing efforts further in Europe. This proposed agreement will add 14 major European cities and 10,000 vehicles to Free2move’s existing car sharing fleet of 2,500 vehicles. Free2move also recently announced the acquisition of Opel Rent, accelerating its growth strategy in Germany and Austria and pushing the transition from rent to mobility provider.
Meanwhile, it has accelerated its car-sharing expansion in the United States, with service now available in Washington, D.C., Portland, Oregon, Denver, Colorado, Columbus, Ohio and Austin, Texas. Free2move also operates car sharing in Europe (Paris and Madrid).
The sale of the car-sharing subsidiary contributes to the realignment of the mobility joint ventures: In the future, shareholders intend to concentrate on two central business areas with high growth potential: digital multi-mobility (FREE NOW) and digital services related to the charging of electric vehicles (CHARGE NOW).
We are proud to have founded the free-floating car sharing segment with car2go. Although Mercedes-Benz will focus more strongly on its core business in the luxury segment, car sharing will remain an important part of urban mobility and an essential element in the mobility offer at FREE NOW. 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 mobility joint ventures have been pioneers in Europe—FREE NOW and CHARGE NOW have been very successful in building a software platform for as many players as possible in their respective segments. With the apps of FREE NOW and CHARGE NOW, we want to provide our customers with a comprehensive and wide range of digital services. The new orientation enables us to scale our activities faster and thus to achieve further profitable growth in the shortest possible time.
FREE NOW is a pioneer of multimodal mobility with its digital Mobility-as-a-Service platform. The company offers access to almost 180,000 vehicles in more than 150 cities in the FREE NOW app through its partner network. With one click users can reach the largest selection of vehicles in Europe, from e-scooters to e-bikes, e-mopeds and car sharing to taxis and chauffeured vehicles. FREE NOW thus meets the increasing desire of customers to be able to choose the best way from A to B freely with a mobility app. The increasing integration of public transport and the implementation of a mobility budget last year demonstrate the aimed growth perspective of the multimodal mobility app.
In 2021, FREE NOW recorded strong growth figures in the multimodal sector—i.e. e-scooters, e-bikes, e-mopeds and car sharing—and was able to almost triple the number of transactions compared to the previous year despite the pandemic. This year, FREE NOW is further expanding its multi-mobility offering—also in the field of car sharing: The vehicles of SIXT share, Miles and SHARE NOW can be booked via the app.
A total of ten new mobility partners will be integrated on the platform in 2022, creating further mobility options for the current 56.8 million users. In the first quarter of 2022, FREE NOW’s transactions grew by a total of 31.4% compared to the same quarter of the previous year, showing a strong growth trend.