Maria Montero

Penske is getting into the car-sharing business, starting …

Transportation services giant Penske Corp. is backing a new car-sharing service called Penske Dash that launched Tuesday in Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia.

The service will debut at an uncomfortable time for the industry. While some car-sharing operations, particularly peer-to-peer services, have expanded, others have struggled in the last year. GM’s Maven, BMW’s ReachNow, Car2Go and Lime are among the car-sharing companies that have reduced or closed their business altogether.

In May, GM downsized its Maven car-sharing company and suspended service in eight markets. BMW’s ReachNow service was shut down so abruptly in Seattle and Portland that customers were still using the cars when the announcement was made. Meanwhile, the transportation company Lime closed its LimePod car-sharing service after less than a year of operations in Seattle and Car2Go pulled out of five North American cities.

Despite these headwinds, Penske Corp. Chairman Roger Penske seems eager to get into business.

“Penske Dash furthers our commitment to embrace new technologies while addressing the mobility needs of our consumers,” Roger Penske said in a statement, adding that the company intends to “stay on the cutting edge of new transportation solutions. leaders. “

Local operations will be led by Paul Delong, who previously served as President and CEO of Car2Go North America.

Penske Dash offers customers access to a fleet of Volkswagen Jetta SE vehicles that can be rented by the minute, hour, or day through the app. Rental rates, which are $ 0.45 per minute or $ 15 per hour, include fuel, parking, and insurance. Members also have 24/7 access to a call center and local fleet operations team.

Penske Dash describes itself as “floating,” although within Washington, DC, it is a bit more limited than some other services that allow customers to park anywhere within a geographic area. Customers can park their Penske Dash vehicle in a public, unrestricted street parking space in Arlington identified by Penske Dash. In Washington, DC, customers must park in a parking spot marked with a Penske Dash placard in approved garages or lots, in accordance with the rules set forth on their website.

Ridecell a transportation software company, provides the platform for the application. The startup, which developed a cloud-based mobility platform designed to help car-sharing, ride-sharing and autonomous technology companies manage their vehicles, raised $ 60 million in a Series B round in late 2018.