Mercedes-Benz is working on an “Airbnb for cars”, a scheme that will enable owners of vehicles not in use to rent them to others.
Mercedes and Smart owners can sign up to the peer-to-peer car sharing scheme online, enter dates when their car is not in use – for example, when they’re on holiday – and other users can book time to use the car.
“Your car will be equipped with a box that connects it to an online platform,” explained Dr Dieter Zetsche, head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, to an audience at the Paris motor show. “Then you create your car’s [online] platform. It’s like Airbnb for cars. You enter your free dates and give thousands of members the ability to rent, unlock and drive your car, all with their smartphone.”
The idea is currently being trialled in San Francisco in collaboration with start-up firm Getaround. Mercedes is also developing its own programme in Germany that will launch later this year.
The venture is part of a new strategy at Mercedes that is looking to the future of electric mobility. The company has created a new subdivision called CASE (Connected, Autonomous, Shared, Electric), which focuses on combining future technologies including connectivity, autonomous driving, car sharing and electrification.