Connected urban mobility news
The PTOLEMUS research team are tracking important evolutions in the global urban connected mobility business on a daily business. Below, we share some of our key findings:
In the latest of an ongoing stream of news concerning automakers and mobility services, Uber has announced that Daimler will operate their own driverless cars on the Uber ride hailing network. Daimler already operates the world’s largest car sharing network and has already either invested or acquired multiple ride hailing providers including MyTaxi, RideScout (both acquired) and Hailo (investment). By partnering with Uber, Daimler has arguably positioned itself as the most powerful OEM in terms of mobility services, although others are fighting hard to catch up. See our latest blog for more…
Since launching in Germany in 2008, Daimler’s Car2Go has grown ahead of its competition to become the largest car sharing scheme in the world, boasting over 2 million registered users and approximately 15,000 cars across Europe, China and the US. Until now, the service has been build around the marque’s distinctive Smart model, which was seen as well suited to urban environments in which the scheme operates. However, other OEMs – particularly GM and BMW – have begun to catch up, particularly in the US market, with the launch of Maven and ReachNow respectively. Unlike Car2Go, ReachNow and Maven have initially targeted the more premium segment of car sharing with models including the Mini, i3, Buick Regal and Cadillac ATS. Both have also launched in more affluent locations and residences in areas such as downtown New York, Brooklyn, Seattle, San Fransisco and Portland.
In response, Car2Go has announced the introduction of thousands of new Mercedes CLA and GLA sedans, which could even outnumber Smarts by the end of 2017. The move represents not only a gentrification of car sharing, but also an indication that the service has become a permanent means of mobility for urban dwellers, including families and businesses, rather than a niece option for single individuals.
In a very interesting article on the BBC, BlaBlaCar reveal that over 4 million people use the service every month, out of a total user base approaching 40 million around the world. The company claims that almost 1 in 5 people in France have registered to use the service, either as drivers or passengers – a figure supported by our car pooling projection within the Connected Mobility Global Forecast.
Following Didi’s purchase of Uber China and apparent soothing of relations between the once fierce rivals, Didi has once again turned up the heat by leading a $100 million investment round in Brazil’s main competitor to Uber, 99. Formerly known as 99Taxis, 99 is seen as the ride hailing market leader in Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro and main competitor to Uber in the Brazilian market. 99 claims to have over 140,000 registered drivers and over 10 million registered users. Alongside the cash investment, Didi will provide technology, product development, operations and business planning expertise, including specific algorithmic capabilities. The deal is just another step in Didi’s clear strategy of extending beyond its core Chinese market by investing in Uber rivals. Didi also has a partnership with Lyft in the US, Ola in India and Grab in South-East Asia – each represents the largest competitor to Uber in their respective markets.
22 November 2016
BMW launches next generation of mobility solutions through US car sharing platform ReachNow, including direct challenge to Uber & Lyft
Following the withdrawal of DriveNow from San Francisco in 2015, BMWs relaunched, premium US car sharing service, ReachNow, has gone from strength to strength, attracting more than 40,000 users in Portland and Seattle. It has now been revealed that Brooklyn, NY has been selected as the third US city to host the service. The city will also act as a testbed for the introduction of a host of new mobility services, including a ride hailing service which will directly challenge existing heavyweights Uber and Lyft (both of which have partnerships with GM). The four new mobility services launched by BMW and ReachNow are entitled Ride, Fleet, Share and Reserve:
- Ride will provide on-demand raise hailing along a similar model to Uber and Lyft, utilising ReachNow vehicles
- Fleet will provide exclusive car sharing to residents within specific apartment blocks
- Share will allow owners of new Mini models to share their cars, utilising the ConnectedDrive telematics platform
- Reserve will directly challenge the car rental business by allowing users to reserve cars for longer periods for a fixed fee
5 November 2016
Toyota invests in US P2P car sharing platform Getaround
Toyota is the latest to make a bet on a mobility model espoused by a startup, with a strategic investment in SF-based car sharing provider Getaround. Toyota’s investment also comes with integration with Getaround’s platform on the technology and finance side, incentivizing Toyota car owners to participate. As part of the new strategic partnership, Toyota will offer new vehicles, beginning with premium Lexus cars, for rental via Getaround with completely keyless entry and driving via their smartphone. Then beginning in January 2017, Toyota’s financial services wing will let Toyota car lessees make payments on their vehicle directly from their Getaround earnings pool, eliminating a step between revenue generation and applying that to offsetting the cost of the car.
In an interesting move which spells bad news for Uber’s main competitor in the US, Lyft, General Motors has struck a partnerships with Uber to offer shared cars to their drivers. GM’s car sharing platform, Maven, which is rapidly expanding across the US, will make cars available to Uber drivers on a short term basis in San Francisco. The move is yet another example of Uber working with car sharing providers to make cars available to drivers looking for flexible solutions. Uber has other such partnerships with providers such as Zipcar and Singapore’s SMove. Earlier this year, GM invested $500 million in Lyft and has been pursuing a similar strategy based on making GM branded cars available to Lyft drivers with special leasing agreements. GM has also been working with Lyft to develop autonomous technology, however this deal raises questions over the long-term future of Lyft, which is estimated to have less than 15% market share in the US, compared to Uber, which has more than 80%.
24 October 2016
The world’s largest car sharing scheme reaches 2 million members
Launched in late 2008, Daimler’s Car2Go has grown quickly to become the world’s largest car sharing scheme in terms of both number of cars and number of users. With more than 14,500 vehicles spread over 10 countries and 3 continents, Car2Go is the undisputed leader of the global car sharing brands. Using bottom up figures from our recent Connected Mobility Global Forecast, we estimate that Car2Go has twice as many as the next largest global player, Zipcar (India’s Zoomcar also claims to have 1 million registered users, although we are currently unable to confirm this). Car2Go has also pioneered the one-way sharing model by negotiating parking partnerships and agreements with local authorities from Cologne to Chongqing. It is estimated that Car2Go’s membership has increased by 1 million in the last 21 months alone. More than 100,000 of these have come from China, where the company is the first of the global big 3 (Car2Go, Drive/ReachNow & Zipcar) to establish a base in the country. Daimler has projected revenues of €800 million from the service by 2020, although has refused to comment on whether Car2Go is currently profitable. BMW recently announced that its own sharing scheme, DriveNow, had become profitable following initial losses.
14 October 2016
Renault launches car sharing service for fleets
Having first presented the idea some time ago, Renault has confirmed the launch of Renault Mobility, a new car sharing scheme designed specifically for fleet vehicles. The platform will be delivered via a telematics device, which can be installed in any branded vehicle. The scheme will be operated by Renault’s leasing and finance arm, RCI Mobility, and will enable fleet managers to privately share their vehicles as well as expanding inter-company use. The move supports the growing trend towards fleetsharing, a concept derived from successful consumer car sharing schemes such as Zipcar, Car2Go and DriveNow. Alongside Renault, BMW has been offering the service via its own leasing arm, Alphabet, for a number of years, whereas other OEMs such as Ford and GM have begun exploring the concept for fleet use.
Following the launch of its carpool and parking locator services, Google’s community based mobility app, Waze, has announced that it will begin installing GSM network beacons at various locations around the world in order to ensure users are able to access services in areas previously without coverage. In France, Waze has been working with motorway and tolling operator Sanef to install the beacons – several beacons will also be installed in Paris. The company’s decision to focus initially on France is a clear indication that Wazepool could soon be coming to Europe’s largest car pooling market, currently dominated by France’s most valuable start-up, BlaBlaCar, which has almost 10 million registered users in the country and over 35 million worldwide.
28 September 2016
Peugeot Citroen makes strategic investment in Canada’s Communauto as part of Free2Move mobility initiative
Playing catch-up with the likes of Ford, PSA has launched its own mobility services group, Free2Move, which will include car sharing, ‘smart services’, fleet management and leasing. While not everything about the new group is absolutely clear yet, car sharing is a key pillar. Adding to the already announced partnership with France’s Bollore, PSA has also made a strategic investment in Canada’s community based car sharing scheme, Communauto. The latter currently has in the region of 25,000 members across Eastern Canada, however we suspect the technology, rather than the brand is the driving force behind PSA’s interest. A base in Canada will also complement it’s planned activities with Bollore in California as the French Car maker seeks to re-establish itself in North America after an absence of more than 20 years.
PSA has announced that it will begin offering car sharing services in Los Angeles, in partnership with France’s Bollore Group. The scheme will form part of PSA’s re-entry strategy into the North American market. The carmaker plans to use the scheme to extract data on driving patterns and car use, which it will use to better understand the specific market conditions. PSA also aims to generate €300 million in revenue from its new mobility services division by 2021. To put this in context, Daimler has plans to grow its car sharing platform, Car2Go, to €800 million in annual turnover by 2020 alone. The North American car sharing market is notoriously hard to crack. BMW, for example, was forced to withdraw it’s DriveNow scheme from San Francisco in late 2015 (the company has since successfully re-launched in Seattle and Portland under a new brand, ReachNow) and Hertz abandoned its 24/7 sharing model entirely in August of the same year. Working with Bollore however, may prove more successful for PSA. Bollore Group are an experienced car sharing operator with an existing scheme in Paris and plans for another in Singapore, in partnership with the Land Transport Authority. The two companies already co-operate at the manufacturing level.
Late to the game, Zipcar has finally launched its very first one-way sharing model in Brussels. Up to 250 Peugeot 208 models can now be rented and returned to any applicable parking space within 16 of Brussel’s 19 commune zones. This comes shortly after Zipcar also announced its 1 millionth member. Brussels also represents the 7th European country where Zipcar is now present, putting then on par with BMW’s DriveNow and Daimler’s Car2Go (both also 7). Zipcar however remains far behind both of these OEM platforms in terms of both number of cars and registered users across Europe. Each has also been offering one-way sharing for much longer than Zipcar and has reaped the benefits in terms of faster subscriber growth as a result.
As part of its ongoing expansion in the personal and corporate mobility market, Uber has signed a partnership agreement with peer-to-peer (P2P) platform DriveMyCar, which will allow potential Uber drivers to use peer rented cars on a flexible contract. Car sharing has seen a slow start in Australia compared to other developed markets, although the development of the P2P market has seen some interesting offerings such as Carhood, which focusses on renting individual’s cars from airports while they are away. The deal between Uber and DriveMyCar will see privately owned, as well as idle corporate vehicles made available to UberX drivers for a weekly fee. The service includes full insurance coverage (provided by DriveMyCar) and roadside assistance.
4 September 2016
Japan’s Orix concludes parking and car sharing partnership
Leasing, sharing, rental and fleet services leader Orix, has concluded a strategic partnership with parking provider Nokisaki. One of a large number of innovative new global parking start-ups, Nokisaki allows owners of un-used and available parking spaces in various locations to rent the space for a fee. As part of the partnership, Orix car sharing users will be eligible for a discount on spaces available through Nokisaki. The two will share data and make services available through their individual online platforms.
3 September 2016
Germany to introduce new laws to boost growth in car sharing
Already on of the largest markets for car sharing in the world, the German government will introduce new parking laws, a move likely to boost growth even further. It is estimated that there are already 4,400 parking spaces reserved for car shearing schemes across 284 German cities. This will grow significantly with the new legislation, expected tomb introduced by mid-2017. According to government figures, there are 16,100 vehicles and over 1.2 million registered car sharing users, however these numbers do not include peer-to-peer platforms, which are also growing at a rapid pace (for complete figures and a 2020 forecast see our connected mobility services report). The new laws do not come without restrictions however, with strict CO2 limits imposed on applicable vehicles. Such limits could initially benefit domestic champions such as Car2Go and DriveNow disproportionately due to their use of hybrid, electric and ultra-low emissions models. Other large providers such as Zipcar and Cambio use a more mixed fleet or small and large vehicles.
The P2P car pooling platform has seen impressive growth in India since launching in January 2015. The company now has plans to reach 4 million dies by the end of 2016. It’s last major funding round was conducted in September 2015, rain gin $200 million. This valued the company at $1.6 billion. Key to success in the Indian market has been a stronger focus on the mobile app and indeed smartphone access in general. In Europe, the service has taken much longer to embrace mobile over desktop use. The company’s focus on longer distance, pre-planned journeys means that it does not compete directly with other fast growing mobility providers such as Ola and Uber. Indeed, as elsewhere, BlaBlaCar sees public transport as its main competitor. BlaBlaCar in India has also been at the forefront of changes to the service such as the ability to select female only rides and mandated ID from all users.
19 August 2016
Volvo partnership and driverless technology acquisition mark busy week for Uber
In the last week, Uber has signed a deal with Volvo, with the aim of launching a fully autonomous service by 2021. This follows similar announcements by both Ford and BMW, who have each also committed to launching fully autonomous vehicles by the same date. Days later, the SanFrancisco based ride hailing giant announced the acquisition of driverless truck technology provider Otto, for an estimated $680 million in shares. Rather than a cash sum, Otto will receive a 1% stake in Uber, which was valued at approximately $68 billion after its last funding round. The 20% stake now held by Uber China in former rival Didi Chuxing is likely to add considerably to this valuation once Uber decides to launch an IPO, possibly within the next year.
12 August 2016
P2P car sharing startup, FlightCar, acquired by Mercedes
FlightCar follows a growing P2P business model whereby individual cars are rented out on a short term basis from airport car parks while the owner is on a trip. The company takes care of the rental, insurance and cleaning services. Rates depend on miles driven. The technology will now be incorporated into the Mercedes North America research and development division.
In a first of its kind development, Bosch has become the first tier 1 supplier to launch a direct to consumer mobility as a service scheme. Via the wholly owned ‘Coup’ app, Bosch has partnered with electric scooter manufacturer Gogoro. The initial fleet of 200 scooters will be installed across Berlin, which is fast becoming the world’s vehicle sharing capital. The world’s largest car sharing schemes, such as Car2Go and DriveNow, as well as major local players such as Flinkster, Cambio and Multicity, are all active in the city. Motorcycle sharing is not a new concept, however the decision by Bosch to launch its own consumer offering will put it in to direct competition with many of its OEM customers.
4 August 2016
BMW’s ReachNow car sharing expands service to Portland
Following BMW’s highly successful entry into the US car sharing market with ReachNow in Seattle, the company has decided to expand the one-way sharing service to neighbouring Portland. The city is already home to the #1 and #2 car sharing schemes in the world – Car2Go and Zipcar – so it is only right that #3 also enters the fray. Car2Go has a reported 45,000 members in Portland, which speaks to the appetite for car sharing given that the city has only 630,000 residents. The ReachNow model is based on a similar “free-floating” approach, which allows users to pick up and return the car to a different location. The Zipcar model continues to rely on a station based approach, whereby the car must be returned to the same location. BMW has benefitted from integrated car sharing technology, installed as part of the OEM’s ConnectedDrive telematics platform. Daimler, who are behind the Car2Go scheme, are not thought to have their own embedded technology platform and rely instead on aftermarket technology, similar to Zipcar.
28 July 2016
Uber launches corporate taxi service, UberCentral
UberCentral will allow business customers to request single or multiple cars on behalf of employees or clients, which will not require the passenger to have the app. Each ride will be billed to the corporate account. This will bring Uber into completion with new sections of the taxi market as it has hitherto focussed solely on individual transport solutions.
Renault Mobility, which will launch officially at the Paris Motor Show in October, is aimed at both private and business customers and will operate in partnership with RCI Banque and Renault’s network of dealerships. “With Renault MOBILITY, Renault offers a Renault brand vehicle or other, made easily accessible and available at any time. The aim is to meet all travel needs, from individuals to whole fleets, with flexible and adaptable solutions at the best price,” said Christophe Chevreton, Renault France director of the new mobility project. Renault aims to offer car sharing solutions to both individuals and fleets through its network of partners and dealerships. Renault MOBILITY will use technological solutions provided by RCI Mobility, a subsidiary of RCI Bank and Services.
21 July 2016
Tesla outlines plans to enter the car sharing market
As a core component of the eagerly awaited ‘Master Plan, Part Deux’, Tesla has revealed details of how it plans not only to enter the car sharing market, but how this will drive business strategy going forward. Read our latest blog on why car manufacturers should not fear Tesla’s new strategy for more information
The growth has been largely attributed to Uber’s position in the insatiable Chinese market. Indeed, 54 of the 147 rides which tied for the two billionth were in China. Of course this breakneck growth does mean that a billion rides would not be spread evenly over the six month period. However, for the sake of comparison, one billion rides over six months is roughly 5.5 million rides per day. Didi, Uber’s fierce rival in China, completes over 10 million rides per day and delivered more than 1.4 billion rides in 2015 alone.
Of course Didi is only active in China, although services are available in more than 400 cities. Uber is now available in 73 countries, over 450 cities and counting.
Juno was founded by technology entrepreneur Talmon Marco, who also founded messaging service Viper. The start-up is aiming to usurp Uber by taking a 10% commission on each ride, rather than Uber’s standard 20%, which can rise as high as 30% during surge periods. Juno also aims to treat its drivers better, thereby creating a better experience for passengers. The company has already attracted over 8,500 drivers in New York, where it will first launch, compared to Uber’s estimated 30,000.
Uber is facing increasing competition across all markets, ranging from Ola in India, Didi Chuxing in China, Grab across South-East Asia and Lyft (and others) in the US. Its treatment of drivers has always been a source of disaffection and controversy and will likely continue to be so for some time.
12 July 2016
Uber raises $1.15 billion from first high-yield loan
Uber has completed the raising of an initial leveraged loan, bringing in $1.15 billion in capital at a rate of roughly 5%. The loan was arranged with the help of four banks: Morgan Stanley, Barclays, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. The deal will allow Uber to invest in its continued expansion without diluting existing shareholdings. This new deal raises the value of Uber to an estimated $68 billion. CEO Travis Kalanick has stated that it is unlikely Uber will go public for at least another 12 months.
Alongside the introduction of new services such as Uberpool and Ubercommute in established markets, Uber continues to expand into new markets ranging from Saudi Arabia to South Africa. The company remains stuck in fierce battles with Lyft and Didi Chuxing in the US and China respectively, both of which have also proven quite adept at raising massive funds.
Singapore authorities have appointed BlueSG, a subsidiary of Bollore, which runs the successful Autolib platform in France, to deliver the countries first on-way, all electric car sharing scheme. The operation will begin rollout in 2017 with an initial 125 cars and plans to number 1,000 cars by 2020 – the date at which Singapore’s next-generation, satellite based electronic road pricing programme will also begin. The cars will be powered by a planned 2,000 charging points and supported by parking spaces in 500 locations. The initial contract has been signed for a 10 year period. The scheme will allow for one-way charging, unlike existing car sharing options such as Smove, which has an estimated 15,000 users and 300 cars that can only be returned to the original location.
Bollore’s French programme, Autolib, is France’s most successful B2C car sharing scheme and has attracted over 130,000 users across almost 4,000 cars in operation.
23 June 2016
Car2Go to launch in Brussels this October
The world’s most popular car sharing scheme will begin by offering 250 of the recognised Smart fortwo cars, in addition to 50 Mercedes A-Class vehicles. Car2go now claims to have more than 1.9 million registered customers across a fleet of 14,000 vehicles. A rental is made somewhere in the globe every 1.5 seconds. See our global forecast for the growth in car sharing to 2020 here.
In order to satisfy regulators in Bangalore, a number of Uber cars will be required to install a meter, similar to those within typical taxis. The units will be installed in each car’s glove compartment and will be supplied by Pulsar Technologies. Drivers will also be required to hold enhanced local authority checks and a certificate concerning their car’s road worthiness. Uber vehicles will also be installed with a GPS enabled ‘panic button’, which will signal Uber HQ and the local authorities in case of emergency.
16 June 2016
Apple launches new Maps for iOS 10 that links to Didi and Uber
The new maps design enables third party developers to integrate their services, although the payments seem to be handled by Apple Pay – so within Maps you can book an Uber ride and pay for it with Apple Pay.
15 June 2016
Car2Go reaches 78,000 users in less than 2 months of operation in China
Car2Go has 400 vehicles in Chongqing, China. Since the launch, 40,000 rentals have been made. Despite only launching its first car in 2011, the Damiler owned company has more than 1.1 million members worldwide and plans to increase annual turnover to $800 million by 2020.
14 June 2016
Uber and Ola continuing to face legal challenges in India, but small competitor Meru growing fast
Meru currently has 1,200 cars across India on its books, although this pales in comparison with Uber and Ola. Meru is able to operate under the much less restrictive city taxi permit scheme because of its small size. The firm has no pooling capability as far as we know.
9 June 2016
Europcar/Ubeeqo acquires Spanish car sharing platform and tech provider Bluemove
Bluemove is a leader in B2C car sharing in Spain with over 47,000 users. The company has also developed its own technology platform that utilises smartphones for keyless entry and vehicle location etc. The move follows the entry into the Spanish market by Drivy, Car2Go and Zipcar, who add to a range of small, regional providers. BlaBlaCar is also well established in Spain.
8 June 2016
Uber and Fiat in discussions over self-driving cars partnership
Discussions are at a very early stage between the two – Uber is also in similar discussions with a number of other carmakers and has agreements with Tesla and Toyota.
25 May 2016
VW invests $300 million in Gett
The deal is designed to accelerate VWs move into ride sharing and autonomous vehicles. Get has now raised a total of $520 million in finding, well behind other ride hailing services such as Uber, Lyft and Didi. It is rumoured that Gett now has a valuation of $2 billion, but this is not confirmed. Get claims to have annual revenues of $500 million. Gett is available in 50 cities across the globe.
24 May 2016
Uber and Toyota sign strategic partnership
The new partnership includes an investment from Toyota in Uber and a deal on leasing, which will expand the financing programme, Uber Xchage.
11 May 2016
Uberpool now accounts for 20% of all Uber fares globally
Since launching in San Francisco only two years ago, Uber’s car pooling option has grown exponentially alongside other rival ride hailing pooling options such as GrabHitch and Lyft Line. We have forecast the growth of these services up to 2020 as part of out Connected Mobility Study, forecasting that the global car pooling market will be worth $30 billion by 2020.
10 May 2016
BMW launches new car sharing scheme, ReachNow, in Seattle
The move essentially represents a relaunch of the company’s existing car sharing scheme, DriveNow, which was previously in Seattle and other US locations before pulling out. ReachNow has attracted over 13,000 users in little over a month. There are currently 370 vehicles as part of the scheme.
28 April 2016
Drivy reports that number of rentals is doubling annually
Drivy has been at the forefront of connected P2P car sharing and has recently moved successfully into the German and Spanish markets, following significant success in France. The Spanish business is said to be growing at a rate of 200% per month. The company also recently acquired German company Autonetzer. Drivy has 850,000 users and 36,000 vehicles on its books. It claims over 1.4 million rental days to date.
25 April 2016
BMW to integrate car sharing technology into the Mini
This is yet another connected mobility offering from BMW, who are arguably now leading the way among the established OEMs. The leasing arm, Alphabet has already begun to integrate the car sharing technology used by DriveNow and ReachNow and offers it as part of its customer proposition. Alphabet will also use OEM data from the Mini as part of its fleet diagnostics offering.
14 March 2016
New partnership between TOTAL and DriveNow for fuel payments
The new partnership allows DriveNow customers to pay for fuel at participating TOTAL stations using the vehicles embedded connectivity and removes the need for a fuel card or separate payment method.
3 December 2015
Didi Chuxing, Lyft, Ola and GrabTaxi form global partnership to compete with Uber
The strategic partnership will aim to foster cooperation on technology and services. The partnership will allow users to use each other’s services via their own apps when travelling to different countries.