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

A new car-sharing platform from Mercedes-Benz will go at the start of December. App-based 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.)


As it transforms from premium vehicle manufacturer to mobility provider, the company is continually expanding its range of services. The crucial difference compared with car-sharing models such as car2go is that Croove now lets private vehicle owners share their car too.

Croove offers hirers a quick and straightforward means of finding a well-maintained, safe vehicle that suits mobility requirements, while also offering greater flexibility than rental stations in fixed locations. Users can save money compared with traditional car rental firm rates, and they can also be certain of being given the exact model of car requested rather than any model within a certain category.

Owners who rent their vehicle, meanwhile, are able to optimize their car's rate of usage while earning some extra money at the same time.

On average, a car is parked up for 23 hours a day. Why not make it earn a little money during this time? Car-sharing will be a key element of the mobility concept in tomorrow’s cities.

—Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars

Croove is a smartphone-based platform. The relevant app will be available to download from December from the Apple iTunes store at first. Not long after launch though, there will also be an Android version in the Google Play Store, along with a desktop website for booking a vehicle.

Straightforward access and tremendous ease of use are top priorities. Owners create an online profile with the details of their vehicle including any optional equipment and enter their asking price—the app helps them with this, too. Croove can be used for any brand of car, provided that the vehicle is in good condition and no more than 15 years old.

Hirers (minimum age 21, must hold a valid driving licence) simply have to register and then they can potential vehicle owners via the app and arrange appointments. When Croove is first launched, it will be possible to either collect the vehicle in person or pay extra for a pickup and delivery service. Consideration is also being given to the idea of introducing a keyless solution in future, which would allow the hirer to collect the vehicle using a PIN code.

Owner and hirer inspect the vehicle together when it is collected and returned again in order to check and document its condition. The digital rental contract provided by Croove includes a checklist for this purpose. The app is also used for cashless payment. And it goes without saying that an in-app rating can be given for both parties after a vehicle has been hired, meaning greater transparency and peace of mind.

Daimler has more experience in the field of shared mobility than any other automotive manufacturer: in 2008 car2go became the world’s first free-floating car-sharing service and has since built up a global customer base that broke through the two million mark just a short while ago. Meanwhile, the merger of mytaxi and Hailo recently created Europe’s largest app-based taxi booking service with a total of 100,000 drivers.

Comments

mahonj

I have felt for some time that EV companies (or anyone) should organise a car swap scheme with the aim of letting EV owners swap to an ICE if they needed to do a long run.
(Or if an ICE owner wanted to try an EV).

If you had all the insurance worked out in advance, it would be like Tinder for cars, you swipe till you find one that you like (and will accept you) and is nearby and one person drives over in car A and drives back in car B.

This is just a subset of my idea.

{ It would be very easy for EV dealers (Like Nissan) to provide a few "lender" ICE cars that the EV buyers could use now and then [ They wouldn't even need to be new ].

Calgarygary

I think you should copyright the line "Tinder for cars". It kind of grabs the attention.

Account Deleted

Mahonj it is too complicated to gain mass adoption. It will all be solved with Tesla’s fully self-driving cars that will begin service in the Tesla Network when the software is ready by late 2017 and the evidence gathering and legislation is ready by the end of 2018. By dec 2018 there could be 500.000 driverless cars in in Tesla Network taxiing people for less than 1 USD per mile and earn fortunes to Tesla car owners and Tesla to be used for more car purchases and investments in new Tesla factories. I can’t wait to see this happen.

SJC

Looks like few Millennials will be buying cars.

mahonj

@henrik, it is nothing like as complicated as making a fully autonomous taxi that can pick people up anywhere and bring them to anywhere else - this is a huge piece of work.
The imaging hardware is the easy part, the software is a big ask.
Keeping a car driving on a main road is easy, but getting from in front of any house to any other house is not at all easy. It will be done, but not by "late 2017".

What I am proposing is very simple: a car swap app.
You would sign up and get your insurence etc. checked.
You might say that you would rent your car to people you like the look of for say $30 / day. You could put up any car type.
I imagine people with Ferraris wouldn't put them up, people with Ford Fiestas would. And people with Nissan Leaf's would.

Then, if you wanted to swap, you would just say "find me all ICEs" within 1 mile, and start swiping.
If you had an EV, you might get a request to swap to an ICE for say 1 week. You might have offered the leaf for $20 and the Fiesta might be offered for $30 / day. Thus, you would pay $10 / day during the swap.

Alternately, say you had a fiesta and one day needed a larger car, you could swap for a Ford Galaxy for a weekend.

Or, say you have an ICE, but want to impress a "green" girl, you swap for a Leaf for the date or first few dates. (If it worked out, you might want to buy one, but you could borrow a leaf till you were sure about her.)

This requires NO new technology, no new batteries, no vision system able to predict if a child is about to run out between cars, nothing but an app.

So while it may or may not catch on (my prediction is it won't), it is certainly achievable with about 2-6 months work from an experienced app programmer.

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