- Daimler and BMW will form a joint mobility services company under the name “Jurbey,” according to a report in The Drive, citing multiple sources familiar with the plans and a German trademark filing.
- The merger — which was approved by the European Commission in November — will combine the companies’ car sharing services (DriveNow and Car2Go), ride-hailing networks, parking services and other mobility networks like Moovel and ReachNow. The Drive reports that Jurbey will be an overarching entity overseeing the other components.
- Separately, Bloomberg reports Volkswagen (VW) is open to partnering with BMW and Daimler on autonomous vehicle development, helping the two companies share the deployment cost.
Details are sparse on the potential VW partnership, which would amount to a massive alliance of German automakers and parts suppliers, also including Robert Bosch GmbH and Continental. VW CEO Herbert Diess has backed the plan, according to Bloomberg, although the automaker only said it is “pursuing the approach of an open platform to include as many partners as possible.”
That such a deal is being discussed shows the high costs automakers face in getting autonomous vehicles onto roads. Partnerships can defray those costs and help automakers keep pace with the tech giants also going hard into the self-driving space. VW has already signed a memorandum of understanding to work with Ford on AVs and mobility, and has partnered with Intel to offer an autonomous taxi service in Israel. BMW, meanwhile, has teamed with Intel, Mobileye and Fiat Chrysler to explore autonomous technology.
Likewise, the Jurbey brand will help BMW and Daimler combine forces on an already-diverse lineup of mobility options. The joint venture (both companies will have a 50% stake) will allow the automakers to collaborate on new projects like software for transportation services, insurance underwriting and online platforms for booking and organizing mobility options.
Notably, the joint venture will see both companies work on electric vehicle charging through the existing brands ChargeNow and Digital Charging Solutions. According to The Drive, the trademark filing mentions Jurbey will work on “petrol station services” including “charging of electric vehicles and car batteries.”
As EVs become more affordable and popular — especially as fleet options — charging infrastructure will need to be deployed across cities; including it as a pillar of the joint venture will help ensure that mobility services can stay sustainable.