Daimler and BMW are pulling the plug on Share Now for North America.
Share Now is a ride-sharing service that was formed by combining the former Car2Go and DriveNow services. The idea is for people to gain the short-time use of a car by renting it at a per-minute rate.
The American and Canadian locations of Share Now were New York, Montreal, Washington D.C., Seattle, and Vancouver. The service has been popular in Europe, where 14 million registered users have access to a fleet of 14,000 cars across 18 cities.
But executives with Daimler and BMW said things weren’t working out so well in the North American market. They cited what they called “two complicating realities.” One of those realities is the volatility inherent in the global mobility sector. The other is ever-rising infrastructure costs associated with maintaining a viable fleet in the North American economic climate.
It wasn’t long ago when Share Now executives were feeling far more optimistic about the service. In fact, Daimler and BMW opted to pump $1.13 billion into an array of efforts that included buying autonomous cars, electric scooters, electric car charging stations, ride-hailing services, and more. They hoped adopting this MaaS (Mobility as a Service) approach would make Share Now take off. It turns out, however, that $1.13 billion was not nearly enough as costs soared and other complications – including intense competition from other MaaS “smart solutions” – made operating at a profit more elusive than anticipated.
In a recent statement issued by Share Now, a spokesperson said the company was not ready to make the additional level of investment needed to make the North American Market successful.
While Share Now is leaving the U.S. and Canada, the firm is also showing signs of trouble in what has otherwise been a more successful European enterprise. Share Now recently announced it would cease to operate in London, Brussels, and Florence. The reason given was a “low adoption rate” among consumers in these locations.
Daimler first launched its ride-sharing service in Ulm, Germany, in 2008. It was tested out exclusively by Daimler employees. That start-up firm was known as Car2Go, while DriveNow was founded in 2011 by BMW. The two services merged in 2019 to form Share Now.