Carsharing is coming to Europe’s biggest city, and the all-electric BMW i3 will be included amongst the list of vehicles being offered.
DriveNow is a popular carsharing program in Europe which has begun service in London as of today. The service will initially offer 210 BMW 1 Series and MINI Countryman models for spontaneous hire. Beginning in the spring, DriveNow will also add 30 all-electric BMW i3 cars to the London fleet expanding it to a total of 300 vehicles during the course of next year.
DriveNow is a joint venture between the BMW Group and Sixt SE, and currently operates in five cities in Germany – Munich, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Cologne and Hamburg as well as in the Austrian capital of Vienna. In North America, DriveNow operates only in San Francisco at the present time. It offers over 360,000 customers access to a fleet of some 3,000 BMW and MINI cars in any of these cities.
DriveNow has plans to expand to 15 additional European and 10 North American cities, although no details as to which specific markets are targeted have been released.
Carsharing continues to grow in popularity in major urban centers in both Europe and North America. Programs such as DriveNow and Zipcar provide spontaneous access to a variety of vehicle types to many urban-dwellers who choose not to own a car. Electric vehicles and hybrids are often common offerings with these services as they match well with the typical driving needs and preferences of subscribers.
With DriveNow, every journey is charged by the minute. In London, the rate will be set at 39 pence ($0.61) per minute with an hourly cap of 20 British pounds ($31.00). Subscribers will also be provided with the opportunity to purchase time in larger blocks at reduced pricing.
The service will start off by serving an area around 65 square kilometres (25 sq. miles) in size comprising the boroughs of Islington, Haringey and Hackney, though DriveNow is seeking to extend the area of coverage to neighbouring boroughs before long.
The 5-seat all-electric BMW i3 has been available since November, 2013. In that time more than 12,000 units have been sold according to BMW making it the third most popular EV.