DriveNow car sharing scheme launched in London

Monday, December 8, 2014 - 13:00
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The BMW i3 will be available from DriveNow next year

BMW & Sixt officially launch DriveNow car sharing scheme in London

This week sees the launch of DriveNow across three London boroughs – Islington, Hackney and Haringey – running a fleet of 210 BMW 1 Series and MINIs. Other boroughs are going to be added in 2015, boosting the fleet up to 300, with 30 BMW i3 electric cars being made available.

The DriveNow scheme works by drivers making a one-time registration fee of £29 before downloading the DriveNow app to locate and book their nearest card. On top of this they can use a Customer Card to unlock and activate a car they’ve seen on the street. Usage is then charged at 39p a minute with an hourly cap of £20 to drive a DriveNow car, or from 32p with DriveNow savings packages.

Talking to the Telegraph, Sixt managing director Alexander Sixt said the scheme has the potential to revolutionise motoring and hopes to “make mobility so cheap that only the rich will buy cars”, adding that DriveNow is negotiating with other boroughs about similar deals on parking.

Cars have no fixed bay to return to, and can be dropped for free anywhere across the boroughs. The cars can also be parked in any on-street parking spaces, meaning they can be used in a similar way to London’s ‘Boris Bike’ scheme

Peter Schwarzenbauer, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, and responsible for mobility services, said: “DriveNow gives Londoners instant access to highly desirable cars, perfect for the city, in an innovative and entirely flexible way. This program is part of BMW Group’s strategic response to the growth in urban living and shared ownership. Our aim is to expand it into about 15 more cities in Europe and about 10 in North America in the future.”

As good as the DriveNow scheme sounds, the memories of Car2go, a similar scheme to this one, was tried by Daimler two years ago in London and Birmingham. The company withdraw its ‘free-floating’ model this summer having conceeded that the “UK’s strong culture and tradition of private vehicle ownership” was too important to compete with.

On top of this, DriveNow could potentially face competition from Uber, the increasingly popular taxi ordering app.

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