Why car-share a tiny little smart car when you can take the luxury route? Daimler’s car-sharing service, Car2Go, now offers a fleet of Mercedes-Benz sedans for your pleasure in Washington D.C. and other U.S. cities.
To begin, the new service from Daimler will roll out the Mercedes-Benz option to six cities across the United States and Canada, including Vancouver, Toronto, Seattle, Portland, Austin and Washington D.C.
The idea is to bring luxury into a segment that is typically represented by economy vehicles with little or no esthetic appeal. A Mercedes-Benz, on the other hand, not only offers the premium feel, but also practical aspects like more space, greater comfort and enhanced safety.
According to Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimer and Head of Mercedes-Benz:
“Car2Go is already the most popular carsharing service in the world. Now it will be even more attractive to small groups of friends and families who want to conveniently travel around cities in style, safety, and comfort.”
Daimler was one of the first major automakers to launch its own car-sharing service. Car2Go was initiated in 2008, after which other companies like BMW and GM came out with their own similar services like ReachNow and Maven, respectively.
BMW’s launch of ReachNow in the United States is now being seen as a driving factor behind Car2Go’s entry into the premium car-sharing segment in the country. ReachNow already offers a range of BMWs and Mini Coopers, including the BMW 328xi, the BMW i3 and the two- and four-door variants of Mini Cooper.
The growth of car-sharing across the world has been rapid over the past few years. As early as 2014, total revenues from car-sharing came in at about $400 million against a traditional car rental market of $24 billion. As of 2015, that figure grew to over $1 billion. It is now expected to grow at an annual rate of 24%, eventually reaching $6.5 billion by 2024.
Now, with more players entering the space in a big way, we could see those growth estimates being realized over the next several years. As people turn towards more eco-friendly and hassle-free ways of getting about, that growth is only going to get stronger over the years.
In tandem, car-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft are also benefiting from the shift from owning your own car to sharing a car. Essentially, all alternatives to owning a vehicle can be grouped under car-sharing. Car-hailing is merely an extension of taxi services, which can often be more expensive than the hourly rates charged by car-sharing companies such as Zipcar or Car2Go, depending on the city you live in and other factors.
One thing is certain: both car-sharing and car-hailing services are growing rapidly and will continue to grow for the next several years. That means we’ll get more options moving forward, basically everything in between what Car2Go is offering right now. From tiny smart cars to luxury automobiles, more models of cars and other vehicles will likely hit the car-sharing landscape very soon.
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