Guess what model they bought for the joint-venture ride-sharing subsidiary?
Tesla has rightly earned its industry disruptor status. The Tesla Model S arrived back in 2012 and immediately caused alarm for established luxury performance brands, specifically Audi, BMW, Porsche, and Mercedes-Benz. The more recent arrival of the less expensive Tesla Model 3, despite its troubled launch, has played a major role in securing the company's newfound financial security. The Model 3 is the German brands' new target and yet they've actually placed an order for a few models - and not just for reverse engineering purposes.
According to the German language publication Handelsblatt, BMW and Daimler's ride-sharing joint-venture, Free Now (formerly called MyTaxi), has just placed an order for 60 Teslas. Headquartered in Hamburg, Free Now has operations in Europe and Latin America. It also rents out electric scooters alongside its taxi-hailing business.
All told, it claims to have a turnover of 2 billion euros worldwide. Over 39 million passengers have used its services on a total of more than 300 million trips. The report further claims Free Now's order was for the Model 3, and all units are slated to enter its service fleet in Hamburg at the end of March.
Free Now also intends to expand into other German cities following an excellent 2019. Some 20 percent more passengers in Germany used Free Now last year than the year prior. The number of drivers increased by 27 percent to more than 28,000.
The fact that Free Now, owned by two of Germany's most recognizable and established automakers, placed a large order for Tesla Model 3s is quite significant because neither automaker currently offers a direct Model 3 competitor. This will change in the near future with the arrival of the BMW i4 and Mercedes EQA. But until one or both arrive, Free Now is being forced to buy the competition. That can't be sitting too well at BMW and Daimler's respective headquarters in Munich and Stuttgart.