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Mercedes bets on private car sharing

Why own a car when you can borrow one from a friend?

The new service that Mercedes is pioneering in Germany allows the owners of a car to share their vehicle with a specified group of users. Friends, family members or colleagues can then easily book an A‑Class for a fixed period of time.

Why only an A-Class? Well, that's because the new feature is aimed strictly at A-Class owners. According to the German Car Sharing Association, over 1.7 million people in Germany are registered with providers such as market leader car2go. Mercedes me is now extending its services to include private car sharing.

The authorized user opens the vehicle using the app and by means of the Mercedes me communication module installed in the vehicle. The A‑Class is started with the vehicle key, which is left in the car and temporary use of which is likewise enabled over the air by Mercedes me. When returning the vehicle, the driver puts the key back in the car and closes the car with the app, thereby bringing the sharing period to an end. The vehicle key in the car can be used only during the sharing period.

NFC is the future

The car can also be opened contactless, closed and started by means of Near Field Communication (NFC). This technology is used by the Digital Vehicle Key. The new A‑Class is now also available in Germany with a Digital Vehicle Key Sticker with a built-in NFC controller. This means that the use of the Digital Vehicle Key no longer requires an NFC-capable smartphone.

First launched in the E‑Class, the Digital Vehicle Key is now available as an optional extra ex-works for a number of model series. However, not every smartphone has an NFC interface that complies with Mercedes-Benz's security standards. For the new A‑Class, therefore, there is now a Digital Vehicle Key Sticker with a built-in microcontroller. Customers can order this sticker from the Mercedes me portal. Delivery is through a Mercedes-Benz sales partner.

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