"Viva la revolucion!"
Mercedes-Benz may not seem like the kind of company that would promote the social use of its vehicles, but at CES today, it was doing just that.
During the company's CES press conference, Daimler's chairman of the board of management, Dieter Zetsche, laid out a vision for car sharing that may be intimately tied to Mercedes cars in the future.
That's because future Mercedes cars will have a telematics app called CarTogether that can help drivers find people with whom to share rides. This is not quite the same thing, of course, as lending out your Mercedes, as services like Getaround or Wheelz would like to have you do. What the app does is help owners find riders in a bid to cut down on emissions by reducing the number of car rides people have to make.
As Zetsche put it on stage, ride sharing is sustainable. And with electric cars, "we can effectively push zero-emissions mobility."
The idea here is that by using social services like Facebook, drivers can find potential riders that share similar interests, serving everyone involved. For example, Mercedes showed a video on stage depicting a Mercedes owner driving to a concert and using the CarTogether system to find someone looking for a ride to the same show. The driver picks up the passenger, and a lifelong friendship begins. That may be far-fetched, but at least it's easy to imagine the driver picking up someone with a shared interest.
Ultimately, Mercedes says it is bucking trends that consider car sharing a bit socialist. "Some colleagues still think that car sharing borders on communism," Zetsche said with a large picture of Che Guevara towering over him. "But if that's the case, viva la revolucion!"