The number of car-sharing users in Germany increased by 350,000, reaching 2.46 million in 2018, according to the car-sharing association of Germany — Bundesverband Carsharing. According to the association, there were 20,200 shared vehicles in the country — a 12% year-on-year increase.
The free-floating model remains the most popular with a 14.9% increase in usage last year. There was also a strong growth — 21.5% — for station-based shared vehicles. According to the association, around 70–80% of station-based car-sharing users don’t have their own vehicles and rely mainly on car-sharing services.
The share of electric vehicles in the shared fleet remained low, as service-providers and automakers struggle to meet the demand.
Lime launches car-sharing service LimePod
Lime, the transportation start-up valued at $2 billion, is officially launching its free-floating car-sharing service in Seattle. The service called LimePod was in a pilot stage until now.
LimePod will have 500 Fiat 500 vehicles around the city. The service will be competing with two other car-sharing operators — ReachNow and car2go. The two services, owned by BMW and Daimler, will be combined in a joint venture in the coming months. They have around 1500 vehicles in the city.
Lime which started as LimeBike also will be dropping bike-sharing service and will be switching entirely to e-scooters. The company has already been removing its bikes from several US cities. Lime’s main competitor, Bird, also only rents e-scooters.
California releases self-driving car data
Department of Motor Vehicles of California released data on self-driving vehicle disengagements. While the data doesn’t tell us much about what the autonomous vehicle companies are up to, we have learned that collectively they drove around 3.3 million kilometers in 2018, up from 800,000km in 2017. The report mainly focuses on how many times the autonomous technology was disengaged and the vehicle was taken over by a human driver.
Waymo seems to be a leader on the scene, with reported disengagement every 17,000 km — 97% improvement from the previous year, while GM Cruise’s human driver got involved after every 8300 km — 320% improvement.
However, the reports have been criticized for various reasons. Firstly, there is no unified scientific model for reporting such data and each company reports its data in a different way, with various levels of transparency and details, offering their own versions of why the vehicle disengaged. The language accompanying the submitted data is vague and standard data entry format is still not used by all companies. And lastly, the report covers only trips on public roads in California, so it doesn’t include Waymo’s public program in Arizona or Ford’s service in Pittsburgh.
Didi lays off 15% of its staff
China’s largest ride-hailing company, Didi is reportedly laying of 15% of its staff — around 2000 people. It is unclear which parts of the company will be affected. The cuts come as the company struggles with new, stricter regulations that have put a squeeze on its driver supply and a public backlash from murders of two passengers.
Additionally, the company is working to address its operational efficiency. Chinese tech news portals report that Didi lost around $1.6 billion in 2018 and spent $1.67 billion on subsidies for drivers.