Mobility platform operator SoCar agrees to use Tesla's Model S for car-sharing service

18, Apr. 2019

SEOUL, AJU - SoCar, the mobility service platform operator which provides a car-sharing service similar to rent-a-car for short-distance clients in South Korea, agreed to use Tesla's Model S for a service model and acquired a domestic startup known for advanced positional tracking technology.

SoCar said Wednesday that Model S cars can be borrowed with others when they are not used. Under a memorandum of understanding, SoCar and Tesla will cooperate closely in vehicle purchasing, joint marketing, promotions and the development of charging facilities optimized for shared services.

With its partnership with Tesla Motors, a front-running U.S. electric car company, SoCar said it would expand its car-sharing service using a diversified lineup of cars. “As an era of sharing, not owning a car, comes near, it has become important to create new habits and cultures,” SoCar CEO Lee Jae-woong said. “SoCar will continue to conduct various experiments to build a more personalized, customized vehicle sharing culture and system.”

In a separate deal, SoCar acquired Polariant, a domestic startup which developed positional tracking technology using polarized light detection. Polariant's solutions can be used even indoors where GPS is not connected, such as underground parking lots.

SoCar and Polariant would accelerate the development of upgraded mobility platform technologies and space intelligence solutions. Polariant was the second startup to be acquired by SoCar after VCNC, a mobility startup which provides a ride-sharing service called Tada. VCNC is testing a ride-hailing service called Tada in Seoul and Incheon with 11-seat vans.

To develop future mobility platforms and enhance service quality, SoCar has won a series of investments from foreign and domestic investors. In January, the company secured 50 billion won ($43.9 million) from four investors including Altos Ventures, a first-stage venture capital firm based in Silicon Valley.