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Stellantis' Free2move acquires car-sharing service ShareNow from BMW, Mercedes

Breana Noble, The Detroit News on

Published in Automotive News

"It's really a marketplace the customer will use per minute, per day, per month," she said. "It's about providing the whole experience to our customers."

Free2move will add more mobility hubs in the United States as well as make monthly on-demand subscriptions available in more cities. Neither service is available for now in Detroit. Its hubs are in Washington, D.C.; Portland, Oregon; Denver; Columbus, Ohio; and Austin, Texas.

Free2move will soon introduce electric vehicles to its U.S. fleets, made up of Jeep Renegades, some Alfa Romeos, and other vehicles, ramping up around 2025, Courtehoux said. Almost 90% of its fleet in Europe is electrified.

In the more distant future, Courtehoux looks forward to the deployment of autonomous vehicles in her fleet through Stellantis' partnership with Waymo LLC, the self-driving technology company of Google parent Alphabet Inc. There's no timeline, but the United States is likely to be one of the first place to see a Free2move service with autonomous vehicles.

"It will change the game," she said, noting the conveniences of ride-hailing service like that of Uber Technologies Inc. that bring the vehicle to the customer versus having to find a nearby vehicle for the customer to drive in the Free2move app.

 

"They will be the same, because you will not need the driver," Courtehoux said. "The car will come to you with no driver, and with Free2move, you will not have the car 100 meters (away), because it will be autonomous. It will come to you. It will be exactly the same business."

For now, by increasing deployment of EVs and increasing customer comfort with them, Free2move can help Stellantis to reach its electrification goals, including more than half of U.S. sales being all-electric by 2030. The biggest value, however, is the entrepreneurial mindset the startup takes as Stellantis attempts a transition to a sustainable mobility tech company, Courtehoux said.

"I was in the automotive side," said Courtehoux, who previously was the project manager on the launch of the Peugeot 208 supermini car. "I had the chance to have this new company in the new, digital world, and both have different skills. When you're able to link those skills ... you can be super, super strong."

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