Illustration of a city with persons who use several shared mobility services.  A green MINI Cooper SE charges.

What is shared mobility?

You’ve most likely heard of car sharing. Perhaps you’ve even booked a ride using a multi-mobility app such as FREE NOW. The mobility of the future brings with it a lot of new terms that can feel quite daunting at first.

And even if you‘ve heard them used quite a bit, you may still be unsure about their exact meaning. Do you know the difference between ride hailing and carpooling, for example? And what can you do with the MINI Sharing app? We’re here to provide all the clarification you need, and at the end of the article you can even go and test out all your new-found knowledge.

NO.1 Let'S start

Shared mobility is nothing more than a transport service that is shared among users. This includes the e-scooters, e-mopeds, e-bikes and bicycles that you see spread about many major cities like confetti. But it also includes traditional modes of transport such as buses and trains.

Cars have become a new favourite shared form of transport because they are not only expensive to buy and maintain, but the seemingly endless search for a parking spot in many urban areas sucks every last bit of joy out of driving. Nowadays more and more people are looking for a way to reduce their carbon footprint and would rather drive only on the odd occasion when it’s absolutely necessary. People are now questioning why they should own a vehicle at all. The data platform stated in August 2021 that by the year 2025 there will be almost 59 million car sharing users around the world.

Illustration of a smartphone and three MINI owners who use the MINI Sharing app.
MINI Cooper SE: Energy consumption in kWh/100 km combined: 17,6-15,2 (WLTP), Fuel consumption in l/100 km combined: 0, CO2 emissions in g/km combined: 0, electric range in km: 203 – 234 (WLTP)

NO.2 An outline of the different shared mobility concepts.

Once you start looking into the concept of shared mobility (also known as shared transport), you will quickly notice that the term encompasses a variety of entirely different transportation methods. It can refer to a transport service that can ferry around several people at the same time, or it can refer to a vehicle that several people arrange to use at different times.  

Ride sharing, carpooling and ride hailing are all mobility services. But what’s the difference between the three? Ride sharing is just a term to mean a ride taken by several people at the same time – a shared ride. It’s when your work colleague picks you up on the corner because the weather’s nasty. Or when a car owner finds other passengers to go on a longer trip together. So they can split the petrol costs and break up the tedium of the drive. This brings us to the term carpooling. In the US and Canada, motorways in many locations even include dedicated carpool lanes or high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes specifically for this use. These lanes can only be used if there are at least two or three people in the vehicle.



It’s Friday night shortly before midnight and you can’t get through to your favourite taxi hotline. Lucky for you there are now smartphone apps such as FREE NOW to help you out. All you have to do is sign up and then you can book your private vehicle with a professional driver. Payment is easily made via the app.


Clearly if you have a taxi all to yourself, you will also be footing the bill all by yourself. Your bank account will be happier if you split the costs. That’s why mobility services offering taxi shares are so popular. Are you supposed to be having dinner at the other end of the city, but you’re a bit low on funds at the moment? Just use one of the smartphone taxi apps to book your ride and maybe there’ll be others going your way too. Some people may get out long before you reach your destination, but then you could pick up more people too. The drive could end up being longer, but you might also meet some nice people and have a good time. Generally, you can expect to pay less for a shared taxi than a regular taxi. And it’s also better for the environment when there are several people travelling in one car through the city.
Illustration of a green MINI Cooper SE booked via a carsharing service and driven by several people at different times.


Then there are those people who really enjoy sitting behind the wheel and are loath to cede control of it to others. This brings us to the other type of shared mobility: commercial car sharing services such as SHARE NOW. With over 11,000 vehicles in 16 cities across 8 European countries, it is one of the oldest and largest car sharing companies on the market. It features an on-demand app and there are various MINI models in its fleet.

Just sign up with your driving licence to book and pick up your vehicle. The fee depends on the rules of use specific to each different service. Some are based on minutes and some on distance driven, but all are precisely calculated. With this type of service, you will often hear the term free floating. This means that you will be paired up with the provider’s next available car. You can park it in any permitted space within your designated user area. This is a highly flexible model. With a station-based car sharing service, on the other hand, you have to pick up and drop off the vehicle at a fixed point.

Conserving resources and developing new mobility concepts are two key aspects of MINI’s sustainability strategy.


MINI has added its own clever twist to shared mobility: Owners of this cult car in Germany, UK, the Benelux states and Spain have been able to share their vehicles with up to 10 friends and family members via an app. All you need to share your MINI is the MINI Sharing app and the relevant data transfer module.

Illustration of a smartphone and three MINI owners who use the MINI Sharing app.


To share your car, you just have to get the module installed in your glove box. Once you’ve got that fitted in your car and you’ve downloaded the app from the App Store or the Google Play Store you just have to sign up. If you are listed as the owner, you can open, start and lock your car using your smartphone.

Guest drivers make requests via their smartphone and can book the car with just a few taps in the app. The app shows potential drivers where the car is located and how to get to it before they book and confirm. The owner can even grant some drivers VIP status so that the owner doesn’t need to confirm every time a VIP driver wants to use the car. If there are no active bookings, only the MINI owner is made aware of the cars location. During a booking – on the other hand – only the driver with the reservation can see the exact location of the car in the MINI Sharing app.

An integrated shared calendar makes it easy to manage bookings in real time. Each driver is able to view all the requests and reservations that they have made themselves at any time. As the app is designed to be transparent, it’s also easy to see who got a traffic ticket. There’s no talking your way out of them. So far, the car sharing app does not have an invoicing option, so the driver and owner have to make their own arrangements, but that can be done easily enough.

Illustration of a woman walking her dog and holding her mobile phone to book a ride with SHARE NOW


MINI is forging ahead towards sustainable transport. The MINI Sharing model can save owners and drivers money, reduce traffic on overcrowded streets and lower the carbon footprint of each driver and passenger. And each person’s footprint will be much smaller if they’re driving an electric MINI.

Conserving resources and developing new mobility concepts are two key aspects of MINI’s sustainability strategy. This is particularly important during the pandemic, because many people find it much less stressful to share a ride with just a few others. Of course, it also makes everyone feel better if the know that they are part of a community that is trying to make a responsible contribution to climate action.

Shared Mobility

Are you an expert? Test yourself!

So you’ve read the article and you want to test out your new-found knowledge? Well, we have the quiz just for you! If you need some help finding the answers to the questions about our MINI Sharing app (and we won’t tell if you do), you can find them here. Good luck!

The answers are at the bottom of the quiz.

Button with an illustration of two people driving a green MINI Cooper SE.


a) The latest slang for 2021.

b) An autonomous driving swimming pool.

c) At least two people who are sharing a means of transport to get to the same destination.

What do you call it when people use some form of transport such as an e-bike, car or scooter together?

a)    Scared mobility. 

b)    Shared mobility.  

c)    Saved mobility.

Button with an illustration of two cyclist in the city.
Button with an illustration of a walker who holds a mobile phone.

If you like to book and drive a car yourself, what form of shared mobility is best for you?

a)    Car sharing. 

b)    Ride hailing.

c)    Car Pooling.

What is the MINI Sharing app?

a)    A new gaming app for the MINI Cooper S.

b)    An intuitive all-in-one app that you can use to share your MINI with your friends and family.

c)    An app you can use to rent clothes from the 2022 MINI Lifestyle Collection.

Button with an illustration of a person who books a ride with a MINI with a multi mobility app like FREE NOW
Button with two illustrated portraits of friends who use the MINI Sharing app.

Up to how many people can use the MINI Sharing app?

a)    Up to two people.

b)    Up to five people.

c)    Up to ten people.

Carpooling – what is it?
c) At least two people who are sharing a means of transport to get to the same destination.
What do you call it when people use some form of transport such as an e-bike, car or scooter together?

a)    Shared mobility.  

If you like to book and drive a car yourself, what form of shared mobility is best for you?

a) Car sharing.

What is the MINI Sharing app?

b)    An intuitive all-in-one app that you can use to share your MINI with your friends and family.

Up to how many people can use the MINI Sharing app?

c)    Up to ten people.

Hinweis (English disclaimers below):

Die offiziellen Angaben zu Kraftstoffverbrauch, CO2-Emissionen und Stromverbrauch wurden nach dem vorgeschriebenen Messverfahren VO (EU) 715/2007 in der jeweils geltenden Fassung ermittelt. Die Angaben berücksichtigen bei Spannbreiten Unterschiede in der gewählten Rad- und Reifengröße. Die Werte der Fahrzeuge basieren bereits auf der neuen WLTP-Verordnung und werden in NEFZ-Äquivalenzwerte zurückgerechnet, um den Vergleich zwischen den Fahrzeugen zu gewährleisten. Bei diesen Fahrzeugen können die CO2-Werte für fahrzeugbezogene Steuern oder andere Abgaben, die (zumindest unter anderem) auf CO2-Emissionen basieren, von den hier angegebenen Werten abweichen. Die CO2-Effizienz-Spezifikationen werden gemäß der Richtlinie 1999/94/EG und der Europäischen Verordnung in der jeweils gültigen Fassung festgelegt. Die angegebenen Werte basieren auf dem Kraftstoffverbrauch, den CO2-Werten und dem Energieverbrauch nach dem NEFZ-Zyklus für die Klassifizierung. Weitere Informationen über den offiziellen Kraftstoffverbrauch und die spezifischen CO2-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen können dem "Handbuch über den Kraftstoffverbrauch, die CO2-Emissionen und den Stromverbrauch neuer Personenkraftwagen" entnommen werden, das an allen Verkaufsstellen und unter erhältlich ist.


The values of fuel consumptions, CO2 emissions and energy consumptions shown were determined according to the European Regulation (EC) 715/2007 in the version applicable at the time of type approval. The figures refer to a vehicle with basic configuration in Germany and the range shown considers optional equipment and the different size of wheels and tires available on the selected model. The values of the vehicles are already based on the new WLTP regulation and are translated back into NEDC-equivalent values in order to ensure the comparison between the vehicles. [With respect to these vehicles, for vehicle related taxes or other duties based (at least inter alia) on CO2-emissions the CO2 values may differ to the values stated here.] The CO2 efficiency specifications are determined according to Directive 1999/94/EC and the European Regulation in its current version applicable. The values shown are based on the fuel consumption, CO2 values and energy consumptions according to the NEDC cycle for the classification. For further information about the official fuel consumption and the specific CO2 emission of new passenger cars can be taken out of the „handbook of fuel consumption, the CO2 emission and power consumption of new passenger cars“, which is available at all selling points and at