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Mercedes/BMW Ride-Hailing Group “Free Now” Buys 60 Tesla Automobiles

Free Now, an app based taxi service in Europe and the UK is adding 60 electric cars to its fleet in Hamburg — all of them from Tesla.

Free Now is a mobility service owned jointly by Mercedes and BMW. What we call a mobility service today used to be known as a taxi company. The difference is that a mobility service uses a smartphone app to match up taxis with riders and handle payment. (There are also now taxi apps that do that.)

Free Now logo

Credit: Free Now via Facebook

What is called Free Now today is a conglomeration of two prior app-based ride-hailing companies –mytaxi and Hailo. According to Wikipedia, mytaxi was founded in 2009 in Germany. In 2014, it was acquired by Mercedes-Benz. Hailo began in London in 2011 and merged with mytaxi in 2016, making mytaxi the largest licensed taxi e-hailing service in Europe and the UK. In February 2019, BMW became a partner with Mercedes and the name of the company was changed to Free Now.

According to a report by Handlesblatt, Free Now has decided to expand its fleet of electric taxis in Germany and will begin by adding 60 Teslas to its inventory of cars in Hamburg, which is where Free Now has its headquarters. The news report does not specify which Tesla models will be added to the fleet, but it’s a good bet that most if not all of them will be Model 3s.

Free Now is big business. It has about 28,000 drivers throughout Europe and the UK and experienced a 20% increase in ridership in Germany last year. It grossed over €2 billion in revenues in 2019 from 300 million trips by 39 million passengers. In all, it has 1,800 employees in 35 cities.

It is laudable that the company wants to expand its electric car fleet but sad that neither Mercedes nor BMW has electric cars of their own they consider up to the task. So, the score in the electric taxi revolution stands at Tesla 60, Mercedes and BMW 0. There’s no clearer indication of who is leading the charge toward an electric car future than that.

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Written By

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. 3000 years ago, Socrates said, "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." Perhaps it's time we listened?


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