As you probably might’ve heard, BMW and Daimler went into business together last year. The two German arch-rivals joined forces to try and find way to offer customers mobility services without the cost of ownership. To this end, they created five joint-venture businesses covering different aspects related to mobility, from charging EVs to parking and ride-sharing. The biggest of them all is, by far, FreeNow, a rival for the likes of Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing apps.
This side business raked in some 2.4 billion euros last year and it is bound to double in size in 2020 if we’re to believe the estimates used by BMW and Daimler. This won’t be an easy task but it looks like the company is willing to use all resources to succeed in a competitive space.
In a statement to us, BMW AG said the folowing:
“FREE NOW did not buy the Teslas and basically does not own any cars. The transport companies which FREE NOW works with as an intermediary decide completely autonomously which vehicles they order or buy.”
And according to German magazine Handlesblatt, they’re also using 60 Tesla cars.
According to the aforementioned publication: “The mobility provider Free Now, a subsidiary of BMW and Daimler, wants to continue its expansion into other cities in Germany. So the electric car fleet is to be expanded, initially with 60 Tesla vehicles in Hamburg, said Free Now in the Hanseatic city.”
FreeNow just like Uber and Lyft are using independent contractors. It’s highly unusual for such a company to purchase cars on their own.
Furthermore, the FreeNow business is a bit atypical because it also offers its customers chauffeurs for hire with premium cars and other mobility choices.[Source: Handlesblatt]