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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.]

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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IHS Automotive sees Google leading technology, testing, software development for autonomous driving

November 13, 2015

The key to self-driving cars is software that can interpret all of a vehicles’ sensors and learn to mimic the driving skills and experiences of the very best drivers. Google is the current technology leader in this arena, according to a report from industry analysts IHS Automotive: “Google Self-Driving Car Strategy and Implications”. IHS estimates suggest Google has invested nearly $60 million so far in autonomous vehicle research and development, at a run rate of nearly $30 million per year.

Unlike traditional vehicle manufacturers, Google also has the ability to leverage adjacent technologies and learnings from its other projects and investments—including robotics, drones and related technologies that help automotive operations, such as neural networks, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and machine vision. This provides Google researchers additional expertise not available directly to traditional OEMs.

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Nissan partners with Scoot Networks mobility service with 10 Nissan New Mobility Concept EVs

October 18, 2015

Nissan has provided 10 all-electric Nissan New Mobility Concept vehicles to the Scoot Networks mobility service in San Francisco. The Nissan New Mobility Concept, also known as a Scoot Quad, is a battery-electric, two-seater compact vehicle with a range of 40 miles (64 km) and top speed of 25 mph (40 km/h), based on Renault’s Twizy. Nissan is also testing the EV in car sharing services in Japan. (Earlier post.)

The Scoot Quad joins the Scoot family of light electric vehicles—including a classic electric moped and a larger cargo outfit—and it is Scoot’s first foray on four wheels. The Scoot fleet currently comprises 400 customized electric scooters that go up to 30 mph (48 km/h) and have a range of 20 to 25 miles (32 to 40 km). San Francisco residents use Scoots for a variety of activities such as quick commutes across town, running errands or as a fun way to explore the city.

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GM planning to “own” the customer relationship beyond the vehicle; autonomous Volts, car sharing and fuel cells

October 01, 2015

General Motors CEO Mary Barra and her leadership team outlined the company’s plans to capitalize on the future of personal mobility by owning the customer relationship beyond the vehicle, building upon nearly two decades of connectivity leadership.

GM also said it plans to strengthen its core business through global growth initiatives and an aggressive product launch cadence, while continuing to focus on driving cost efficiencies. As a result, the company expects to increase its earnings per share and generate significant shareholder value. The company shared its plans with investors during a conference at its Milford Proving Ground.

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