Four months after a small pilot program in Munich, a private car-sharing platform from Mercedes-Benz is slowly being expanding into in other major German cities. Now Croove is in Berlin with a program that continues to be open to vehicles of all makes, a decided departure from General Motor’s Lyft car sharing. (Lyft and GM Express Drive Expands to Colorado, California, Maven Debuts “Elevated” Car Sharing in Baltimore)
Using an app or website, renters can search for a private vehicle in Berlin that meets their specifications and price. Owners who rent their vehicle can optimize their car’s rate of usage – it’s claimed – while earning some extra money. With the Berlin launch, the Croove app is now available for Android users. The website (www.letscroove.com) has been changed and includes the ability to upload and manage vehicle information, as well as to manage bookings, via a web browser.
The person renting out their vehicle can set their own price or Croove “can help with this to balance supply and demand.” (Sounds like Uber’s demand pricing) Vehicles must be in good condition and no more than 15 years old. Renters (minimum age 21, and, duh, must hold a valid driving license) must register and then they can contact vehicle owners via the app or website and arrange appointments. It is possible to either collect the vehicle in person or pay extra for a pickup and delivery service. In the future, Croove plans to make keyless access possible. Payment is made electronically via the app.
Croove is said to be a successful CASE project. CASE at Mercedes-Benz Cars explores connectivity (Connected)”, “autonomous driving (Autonomous)”, “flexible use (Shared & Services)” and “electric drive systems (Electric).” Mercedes, like all automobile companies is struggling with and exploring what it means to be a mobility provider, and not just a purveyor of sheet metal.