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One of the biggest metropolitan regions in the world.

Yifei (32) has been married eight years and has one daughter. He runs two small restaurants in Chongqing, one of the biggest metropolitan regions in the world. Home to over 30 million people, the gigantic central China city on the Yangtze River is also one of the biggest consumers of new motor vehicles. “Demand here is so high that vehicle registration offices can no longer keep up with the number of registration plates to be printed,” says Yifei. As you might expect, traffic levels in the booming business metropolis are similarly high. 

Yifei’s name is actually Yi Chibiao: Yi is his surname, Chibiao his first name. “My friends just call me Yifei,” he says, smiling. We are going to spend the whole day together, from early morning until late evening, as Yifei hopes to find out if car sharing will improve his everyday life. 

“The smart is small, but it does what it needs to,” he says.

“The smart is small, but it does what it needs to,” he says.

Easing the urban mobility with smart ready to services.

Easing the urban mobility with smart ready to services.

Mobile and flexible.

His family owns a small car, but it’s mainly used by his wife: “She drives our daughter to and from school every day, takes her to her sports club and to see her friends.” 

A second car is not an option for the young family, but it would make Yifei more mobile and flexible, “for bringing fruit, vegetables and spices from the market to my restaurant,” he explains. “To drive to the supermarket. For impromptu meetings with friends or business partners who aren’t within walking distance – in a city like Chongqing, that is not uncommon at all.” Which is why he has downloaded the car sharing app from car2share, a joint venture of Daimler AG in Chongqing, onto his phone. The app already has over 200,000 registered users. 

Remarkable success.

The service, called car2go in the rest of the world, has made car sharing an integral part of Daimler AG’s service offering since 2010. It currently has over four million members worldwide in 25 inner-city locations: every couple of seconds, someone in the world rents a car through car2go or car2share. In areas where car2go is established, it is integral to the cityscape and the everyday mobile lives of residents. 

The service has been a remarkable success, and has enabled Daimler AG to tap into a new business segment that marks a rising trend, especially in major cities: the sharing economy. The underlying concept is that goods like cars are no longer owned by a single user, but rather shared.

Users benefit financially, as a privately owned car incurs expense even while it is not being driven. They also benefit from the associated reduction in stress, as car sharing eliminates the headaches of finding a parking space and car maintenance.

What’s more, in cities like Chongqing – not to mention Paris and Milan, both car2go locations – cars are polluting the environment. Survey results show that car2go displaces private vehicles that would otherwise be on the road, thereby relieving two key city pressures: parking and CO2 emissions.

More than 30 million people live in Chongqing.

More than 30 million people live in Chongqing.

More and more people move to the city.

High traffic volumes in major cities require three out of four inhabitants to spend more than 90 minutes a day commuting, even over short distances. And the problem will only worsen as more and more people move to the city. Experts estimate that by 2050, two-thirds of the world’s population will be living in an urban environment. This fact alone means that services like car2go will be necessary to avoid the megacities of the future collapsing from the pressure of road traffic alone. Other valuable tools are developments such as the new “ready to” services from smart. smart “ready to share” facilitates private car sharing between friends, family and colleagues, for example. The newly integrated payment function, so far only available in Germany, even enables users to set up their own private car sharing system.

Stronger together.

Sharing resources and expertise is becoming increasingly important, particularly at a commercial level. The five joint ventures that Daimler AG has set up with BMW in the last year combine the ambitions of both companies to identify innovative solutions for the future of urban mobility. This partnership highlights that the capability to offer smart solutions for urban mobility is now such an overriding priority that major rivals are coming together. It also underscores how attractive it has become to collaborate instead of compete, while still strengthening individual brand influence. 

Restaurant owner Yifei uses the app to search for the nearest smart car.

Restaurant owner Yifei uses the app to search for the nearest smart car.

Ready to share means you can also share your smart privately.

Ready to share means you can also share your smart privately.

Becoming more seamless in the everyday mobile lives.

Of course, customers benefit most: the more that car sharing platforms like car2go, car2share and the other sharing and mobility services offered by the joint ventures intertwine, the more seamless the everyday mobile lives of customers become, and thus, the greater their quality of life. 

Share Now is the name of the joint venture that will combine the BMW and Daimler car sharing platforms. “Together with our partners, we are building a mobility ­ecosystem like no other,” explains CEO ­Olivier ­Reppert.

Ideal for urban transport.

Experts also believe that car sharing will support an electromobility breakthrough. This is a reasonable outlook, given that car sharing vehicle journeys rarely amount to more than five kilometres, so there’s no issue with battery charge. Electric vehicles’ dynamic acceleration also makes them ideal for urban transport, not to mention how they cut CO₂ emissions and reduce city noise thanks to a barely audible drive system. 

From 2020, smart plans to switch its fleet over to all-electric vehicles. In the US, ­Canada and Norway, the changeover has happened already, in 2017. Because a large part of the car2go fleet consists of smart cars, more and more customers are reaping the benefits of electromobility in their ­everyday lives.

Simple and convenient: Yifei gets to grips with car2share.

Simple and convenient: Yifei gets to grips with car2share.

Yifei feels more free.

Meanwhile, it’s afternoon in Chongqing, and Yifei is already smitten with car2share. He uses the app to locate a nearby smart car; he walks there, hops in, and drives to a market ten kilometres away to shop for his restaurants. He fills the boot with melons, poultry and a stack of serviettes. “The smart is small, but it does what it needs to,” he says, delighted. After a quick stop at the office, he visits his business partner in another part of the city. He is finally mobile. His final thoughts? “I feel more free. I’ve really got used to using the service now, especially for picking up provisions,” he says, before he and the car disappear into Chongqing’s sea of lights.

Smart „ready to“ services.

The brand smart develops innovative solutions to ease urban mobility. “In major cities in particular, people are looking for an environmentally friendly mode of transport that prioritises a sense of community, and a strong neighbourhood based on mutual respect and the willingness to share,” says Katrin Adt, head of smart. smart ready to services respond to this need. Use the ready to share app to share your smart car with friends and family – without even having to hand over the keys.

Authorised users can locate, unlock and park your car in a prearranged spot, using just a smartphone. A payment function that is initially only available in Germany makes it possible to set a per-minute price for using your smart car, and makes it easy to handle billing via app. Alongside ready to share, the “ready to drop” service is also available, turning your smart car into your personal parcel box; and then there is “ready to park”, which makes it possible to search for parking places by app. Interested? Find out more here.

Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert CO₂-Emissionen kombiniert Stromverbrauch im kombinierten Testzyklus

1 Die angegebenen Werte wurden nach dem vorgeschriebenen Messverfahren ermittelt. Es handelt sich um die „NEFZ-CO₂-Werte“ i. S. v. Art. 2 Nr. 1 Durchführungsverordnung (EU) 2017/1153. Die Kraftstoffverbrauchswerte wurden auf Basis dieser Werte errechnet. Der Stromverbrauch wurde auf der Grundlage der VO 692/2008/EG ermittelt. Weitere Informationen zum offiziellen Kraftstoffverbrauch und den offiziellen spezifischen CO₂-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen können dem „Leitfaden über den Kraftstoffverbrauch, die CO₂-Emissionen und den Stromverbrauch aller neuen Personenkraftwagenmodelle“ entnommen werden, der an allen Verkaufsstellen und bei der Deutschen Automobil Treuhand GmbH unter www.dat.de unentgeltlich erhältlich ist.

2 Die angegebenen Werte sind die „gemessenen NEFZ-CO₂-Werte“ i. S. v. Art. 2 Nr. 2 Durchführungsverordnung (EU) 2017/1153, die im Einklang mit Anhang XII der Verordnung (EG) Nr. 692/2008 ermittelt wurden. Die Kraftstoffverbrauchswerte wurden auf Basis dieser Werte errechnet. Der Stromverbrauch wurde auf der Grundlage der VO 692/2008/EG ermittelt. Aufgrund gesetzlicher Änderungen der maßgeblichen Prüfverfahren können in der für die Fahrzeugzulassung und ggf. Kfz-Steuer maßgeblichen Übereinstimmungsbescheinigung des Fahrzeugs höhere Werte eingetragen sein. Weitere Informationen zum offiziellen Kraftstoffverbrauch und den offiziellen spezifischen CO₂-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen können dem „Leitfaden über den Kraftstoffverbrauch und die CO₂-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen“ entnommen werden, der an allen Verkaufsstellen und bei der Deutschen Automobil Treuhand GmbH unter www.dat.de unentgeltlich erhältlich ist.

4 Angaben zu Kraftstoffverbrauch, Stromverbrauch und CO₂-Emissionen sind vorläufig und wurden vom Technischen Dienst für das Zertifizierungsverfahren nach Maßgabe des WLTP-Prüfverfahrens ermittelt und in NEFZ-Werte korreliert. Eine EG-Typgenehmigung und Konformitätsbescheinigung mit amtlichen Werten liegen noch nicht vor. Abweichungen zwischen den Angaben und den amtlichen Werten sind möglich.

6 Stromverbrauch und Reichweite wurden auf der Grundlage der VO 692/2008/EG ermittelt. Stromverbrauch und Reichweite sind abhängig von der Fahrzeugkonfiguration. Weitere Informationen zum offiziellen Kraftstoffverbrauch und den offiziellen spezifischen CO₂-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen können dem „Leitfaden über den Kraftstoffverbrauch, die CO₂-Emissionen und den Stromverbrauch aller neuen Personenkraftwagenmodelle“ entnommen werden, der an allen Verkaufsstellen und bei der Deutschen Automobil Treuhand GmbH unter www.dat.de unentgeltlich erhältlich ist.