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[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]

RideCell introduces white-label global carsharing and ridesharing platform for automakers; used by BMW ReachNow

November 16, 2016

RideCell, Inc., the developer of a Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) platform for leading automakers and transit providers globally, unveiled today at AutoMobility LA the worldwide release of its white-label multiservice platform that allows car manufacturers to provide on-demand mobility when and where it’s needed. (A white-label product or service is produced by one company and rebranded by its customers.)

By integrating ridesharing and carsharing into a single platform, RideCell makes it easy for car manufacturers to create and launch a premium mobility service in a matter of months. The RideCell platform is being used by the BMW Group to power the ReachNow carsharing service. (Earlier post.) First introduced in April 2016, RideCell powers the service which has more than 370 BMW and MINI vehicles.

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BMW’s ReachNow car sharing expands to Brooklyn, launches pilot programs for new mobility services

During a press conference at AutoMobility LA, ReachNow, BMW Group’s free-floating premium car sharing service, announced its expansion into its third city: Brooklyn, NY. The service also introduced four new mobility services: Ride, Reserve, Share, and Fleet Solutions for residential buildings. The expansion to Brooklyn marks the company’s first expansion beyond the West Coast of the United States; the service currently operates in Seattle and Portland.

ReachNow is building on its premium experience by offering members greater versatility through a suite of convenient and easy-to-use transportation solutions, available in a single app for the first time. The four mobility services that will launch as pilots in select cities over the next month include:

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Mercedes-Benz launches new private car-sharing scheme: Croove

November 10, 2016

A new car-sharing platform from Mercedes-Benz will go online at the start of December. App-based Croove pairs up private vehicle owners and hirers. The Croove scheme will be launched in Munich to begin with and is open to any brand of vehicle.

The peer-to-peer car-sharing platform is another example of a CASE strategy project that has advanced from idea to implementation. The acronym CASE is the name given to the specific area of strategy at Mercedes‑Benz Cars that focuses on the future-oriented issues of “connectivity”, “ autonomous driving”, “sharing” and “electric drive systems”. (Earlier post.)

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Test deployment of new on-demand hub & shuttle mobility system at U Michigan; connected & automated vehicles & big data

November 01, 2016

A test deployment of a new hub-and-shuttle urban mobility system will take place on the University of Michigan’s North Campus. Its creators say the proposed system could deliver riders to their destinations in as little as half the time of the existing bus system at a lower cost, eventually using a fleet of autonomous shared vehicles. The limited test deployment would likely mark the world’s first on-the-ground implementation of such a system.

Called Reinventing Public Urban Transportation and Mobility (RITMO), the proposed system combines aspects of Uber-style ridesharing, fixed-route buses and light rail into the hub-and-shuttle system. It would combine high-frequency buses serving the busiest transportation hubs with a fleet of about 50 on-demand shared shuttles to get riders to and from those hubs.

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Toyota to establish car-sharing and other mobility services platform; collaboration with and investment in Getaround; smart key box

October 31, 2016

Toyota Motor Corporation will establish a Mobility Services Platform (MSPF) to collaborate with various service providers, as well as telematics insurance. Given on the proliferation and popularity of mobility services, such as car-sharing, the MSPF will have various functions to support these mobility services, and to leverage the Toyota Smart Center (TSC), the Toyota Big Data Center, and financial services.

Toyota also announced an investment in, and pilot car-sharing program with, US car-sharing company Getaround.

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GM makes strategic investment in car-sharing technology company Yi Wei Xing in China

October 11, 2016

GM has made a strategic investment in Yi Wei Xing (Beijing) Technology Co., Ltd. (Yi Wei Xing), a leading car-sharing technology solution provider in China, as another move in exploring personal mobility in China.

Yi Wei Xing’s product, Feezu, is based on mobile technology. It merges hardware and software to provide a convenient car-rental and car-sharing experience. It also offers car-rental companies a customized cloud-based car-sharing platform.

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Ford acquiring SF-based crowd-sourced shuttle service, launching Ford GoBike

September 09, 2016

Ford is acquiring Chariot, a San Francisco-based crowd-sourced shuttle service, and is collaborating with bike-sharing provider Motivate to launch Ford GoBike, expanding its transportation solutions in city centers. Ford also is establishing a new City Solutions team to work with cities around the world on their transportation needs.

Ford’s acquisition of Chariot, subject to normal customary closing conditions, will serve as the cornerstone for its new global shuttle services business. The shuttle service is expected to be expanded beyond San Francisco to at least five additional markets in the next 18 months.

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Bosch launches eScooter sharing service under new Coup brand

August 03, 2016

Bosch is launching its new Coup eScooter sharing service in Berlin. Coup, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bosch, now provides Berlin residents with a new mobility option featuring a simple pricing model. Customers can now find, reserve, and use their nearest eScooter at any time. After reaching their destination, they simply drop off the scooter anywhere in the city center.

Two hundred connected and all-electric scooters produced by Gogoro, a leading eScooter brand, will be available for the launch in Berlin.

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Berkeley TSRC study quantifies VMT and GHG benefits of car2go car-sharing in North America

July 25, 2016

car2go NA is currently the largest flexible one-way carsharing service in North America. Now, a study conducted by the University of California Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center (TSRC) concludes that car2go’s carsharing model can complement existing mass transit options; reduces the overall number of vehicles on the road; and ultimately improves mobility in densely-populated urban areas.

Among the study’s conclusions were that, on balance, car2go changes VMT (vehicle miles travelled) by -6% to -16% per car2go household; GHG emissions change by -4% to -18% per car2go household. Overall, the results of this study suggest that car2go one-way carsharing is substantively impacting travel behavior, miles driven, GHG emissions, and the number of vehicles on urban roads within operating regions.

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Musk’s “Master Plan, Part Deux”; expands Tesla to heavy-duty electric trucks and urban transport; integrated energy generation and storage

July 21, 2016

Elon Musk has, as promised, published his second “master plan,” composed with the help of all-nighters and the Gatsby soundtrack.

Master Plan Part 1—public now for ten years—outlined (1) the creation of an expensive low-volume electric car (Roadster) to fund (2) a medium-volume electric car (Model S, X) at a lower price to create (3) an affordable high volume car (Model 3) and (4) provide solar power. Master Plan v2.0 takes Tesla into integrated energy generation and storage (i.e., Tesla’s acquisition of Solar City, earlier post) as well as into heavy-duty electric vehicles and urban transport.

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BMW Group and Sixt SE extend DriveNow car sharing program to Brussels; 20% of DriveNow fleet electric

July 06, 2016

Car-sharing service DriveNow is extending its service to Brussels—the tenth European city where the premium car sharing joint venture from BMW Group and Sixt SE will operate. Car sharing without a branch office has been allowed in Brussels since June and the service will offer a range of BMW and MINI models on the proven free-floating car sharing concept.

Following its launch in Munich in June 2011, DriveNow has constantly expanded its mobility services in Europe and now has more than 600,000 customers. In addition to its five German locations (Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Düsseldorf and Cologne), DriveNow services are also available in London, Vienna, Copenhagen, Stockholm and—as of this month—in Brussels. In Germany, DriveNow records an average of over half a million journeys every month. An average journey is between 8 and 15 kilometers and lasts 20 to 40 minutes.

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Report: combination of new mobility technologies creates opportunities for cutting emissions, but requires strategic policy interventions

June 30, 2016

The combination of connectivity, automation plus shared vehicle ownership and use has the potential to make car travel greener and cheaper, cutting energy use and helping accelerate the introduction of low carbon vehicles. However, these energy and carbon benefits are by no means guaranteed and will require strategic policy interventions to maximize them according to new report by the Institute for Transport Studies (ITS) at the University of Leeds, commissioned by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).

The study—Automated vehicles; Automatically low carbon?— was presented at the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership Conference at the Olympic Park in London. According to the study, better coordination and connectivity between vehicles and infrastructure is likely to improve energy efficiency, as well as potentially make road transport safer and quicker.

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BMW Group introduces MINI and Rolls Royce centenary concepts; individual mobility based on megatrends and projections

June 16, 2016

To mark its centenary year in 2016, the BMW Group is looking further ahead than usual with a series of Vision Vehicles designed to anticipate and respond to future mobility needs. At its Munich Centenary Event on 7 March, the automaker introduced the BMW VISION NEXT 100. (Earlier post.)

BMW now has introduced two more Vision concepts: the MINI VISION NEXT 100 and the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100. A fourth Vision Vehicle, by BMW Motorrad, will make its premiere on 16 October in Los Angeles, completing the BMW Group’s brand quartet of far-forward looking concepts.

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Toyota and partners share first information from innovative car-sharing project in Grenoble

May 27, 2016

Halfway into the three-year “Cité Lib by Ha:mo” car-sharing experiment in Grenoble (earlier post) Toyota and its project partners have shared the first results in terms of user profiles and usage.

Based on the idea that multimodality was one of the keys to solving city traffic gridlock and pollution, the project makes available 70 ultra-compact electric vehicles, the Toyota i-ROAD and COMS, on a sharing platform called Ha:mo (harmonious mobility). These eco vehicles can be hired up to one hour before use and are located in one of 27 charging stations installed and operated by Sodetrel, a subsidiary of French energy company EDF. The stations can handle the service’s proprietary badge or any existing public transport subscriber badge. People can use them either in a round-trip or one-way pattern, and they can be booked on a smart phone. Users can also plan their multimodal city trips by connecting to the Grenoble metropolis’ route planning service, Métromobilité.

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GM’s Maven car-sharing reaches 1M miles driven in <4 months; Boston, Chicago, and DC joining lineup

May 19, 2016

In less than four months, Maven, General Motors’ personal mobility brand (earlier post), has grown to five markets: New York City, Ann Arbor, Mich., and is adding Boston, Chicago and Washington, D.C. Maven members have driven more than one million miles.

In Chicago, the Maven City car sharing program is now in operation, with pricing starting at $8 an hour including insurance and fuel. Registered customers use the Maven app to reserve one of 30 vehicles at more than 15 sites throughout the city.

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GM sees connectivity, autonomy and transport-as-service fundamentally changing automotive industry

April 14, 2016

Three emerging and converging factors—connectivity, autonomy and transport-as-a-service—will fundamentally change the automotive industry over the next few decades, according to Mike Abelson, GM’s VP of Strategy and Global Portfolio Planning.

These three factors, said Abelson in a panel talk at the 2016 SAE World Congress in Detroit, are changing how the vehicle interacts with the environment; how the user interacts with the vehicle; and the entire business structure around it.

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BMW Group Launches car sharing service “ReachNow” in Seattle

April 08, 2016

Following a successful pilot program, BMW Group has launched ReachNow, a free-floating premium car sharing service, in Seattle. In addition to debuting the ReachNow car sharing service in Seattle, BMW Group Member of the Board Peter Schwarzenbauer also announced the establishment of ReachNow’s North American headquarters in the city and its plans to expand the service to three additional cities in 2016—with the intention of servicing 10 North American cities.

ReachNow is designed to provide drivers with an experience that is as convenient as owning a car. The user experience is premium, with fast registration and an almost instant approval process—in two minutes or less. The initial fleet of 370 vehicles, including the BMW i3, the BMW 3 Series and the MINI Cooper, will be located on the streets of Seattle for immediate use. The service will expand to include Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in the next quarter.

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Hyundai Motor powers world’s first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle car-sharing service

April 07, 2016

Zero-emission car sharing service BeeZero, run by a newly founded subsidiary of The Linde Group, will feature 50 Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell electric vehicles for public use. BeeZero, which will launch in Munich this summer, will be the first car sharing service using hydrogen fuel cell cars.

The BeeZero car sharing service will be run on a zone-based model. The fleet of fifty ix35 Fuel Cell cars will be available in Munich’s city centre and also in the areas of Schwabing, Haidhausen, Au and Glockenbachviertel. As with conventional car sharing services, the cars can be easily booked online or via a smartphone app.

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GM launches Maven car sharing brand

January 21, 2016

General Motors announced a new car-sharing service it calls Maven, which combines and expands the company’s multiple programs under a single brand.

Maven’s mission is to give customers access to highly personalized, on-demand mobility services. The global Maven team includes more than 40 dedicated employees from the connected car technology industry as well as ride- and car-sharing professionals from Google, Zipcar and Sidecar. Earlier this month, GM announced a $500-million investment in Lyft to help the company continue the rapid growth of its successful ridesharing service. (Earlier post.)

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IBM study finds consumers very interested in alternative ownership models for cars, self-enabling vehicles

January 12, 2016

Consumers expect to use cars differently—showing particular interest in self-enabling vehicles—though they don’t necessarily want to own one in the traditional sense, according to the results of IBM’s automotive consumer study, presented at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. This presents opportunities for automakers to apply analytics and cognitive capabilities to develop new vehicle options.

A New Relationship – People and Cars,” developed by the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV), reports that consumers also show a high level of interest in self-enabling vehicles, or cars that can learn, heal, drive and socialize. These capabilities include autonomous, self-driving cars, vehicles that can be fixed without human intervention and the implementation of cognitive computing to learn and assimilate to the driver’s behaviors, the vehicle itself and the surrounding environment.

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GM to invest $500M in Lyft; creating integrated network of on-demand autonomous vehicles

January 04, 2016

General Motors and rideshare company Lyft are entering a long-term strategic alliance to create an integrated network of on-demand autonomous vehicles in the US. GM will invest $500 million in Lyft to help the company continue the rapid growth of its successful ridesharing service. In addition, GM will hold a seat on the company’s board of directors.

The GM investment is part of a $1-billion funding round Lyft is closing. In addition to the GM money, Kingdom Holding Company invested $100 million making the total investment of Kingdom Holding and its affiliates approximately $250 million. Several new and existing Lyft investors were also in the round including Janus Capital Management, Rakuten, Didi Kuaidi and Alibaba. Following this latest round, Lyft is valued at $5.5 billion, post-money. Key elements of the GM and Lyft alliance include:

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