The combination of autonomous vehicles and ride-hailing services is expected to be an extraordinarily disruptive development. Someday, providers of Transportation as a Service (TaaS) could be sitting atop the value chain, while traditional automakers end up as producers of a commodity product.
Automakers aren’t sitting idly by and waiting for the market to develop. Just to mention two of the interesting things going on: Tesla is widely believed to be quietly working on the Tesla Network; and GM has invested in ride-hailing company Lyft and launched its own car-sharing service, Maven.
Now BMW and Daimler have unveiled a joint ride-hailing, parking and EV charging business that seems designed to compete with mobility services such as Uber and Lyft. The two luxury automakers plan to invest over one billion euros in the 50/50 joint venture, which will incorporate Daimler’s Car2Go car-sharing brand and BMW’s DriveNow, ParkNow and ChargeNow businesses.
According to Reuters, the new JV will have five components: Reach Now, a smartphone-based route management and booking service; Charge Now for EV charging, Free Now for taxi ride-hailing; Park Now for parking services; and Share Now for car-sharing.
“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,” said BMW Chief Executive Harald Krueger.
“Further cooperation with other providers, including stakes in startups and established players, [is] also a possible option,” added Daimler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche.