At a press conference with San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, BMW Group Member of the Board Dr. Ian Robertson announced the upcoming launch of ParkNow, a mobile parking solution that is a joint venture with Urban Mobility; and also provided new details about DriveNow, a new premium car-sharing service which features a fleet of BMW ActiveE all-electric vehicles. San Francisco serves as the initial US market for each service.
There are an estimated 505,000 vehicles in San Francisco, yet only 448,000 parking spaces available at any given time. On weekdays, the total vehicle population increases by approximately 35,000. An estimated one-third of all downtown traffic on weekdays is due to vehicles searching for a parking spot.
ParkNow, which will be available to drivers beginning in September, is an online mobile parking service that enables users to pay for parking in advance, with guaranteed access and clearly defined rates, based on their personal preferences. Customers can search for parking using ParkNow’s mobile app or website, reserve, pay and then be navigated directly to the parking facility, reducing time spent looking for parking, as well as emissions.
There are currently 14 ParkNow locations in and around San Francisco piloting the system. Stations are located around the city, close to BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), Muni (San Francisco Municipal Railway) and bike-sharing stations, as well as at San Francisco International Airport, Oakland International Airport and in Palo Alto. Four ParkNow partner operators, ProPark America, Towne Park, ABM Parking and California Parking, will launch over 100 additional ParkNow locations in the coming weeks.
DriveNow, which launched in June in San Francisco, is a flexible, premium car-sharing program offering the opportunity to drive the battery-electric BMW ActiveE. The fleet of 70 ActiveE vehicles is located at eight DriveNow Stations around San Francisco, with two additional stations in Palo Alto and at the San Francisco International Airport coming soon.
After registering online or in-person, customers can locate and book an available car using the DriveNow web site or mobile app. They can then return the car to the same—or any other—DriveNow Station. Stations are located around the city, close to BART, MUNI and bike-sharing stations. Through a partnership with California-based Coulomb Technologies’ ChargePoint network, drivers can locate a nearby charging station if they need to top-off during the course of their rental, which has no time limit. Parking and charging is free at DriveNow Stations.
All of these initiatives are part of BMW i, a BMW brand focused on developing sustainable premium mobility solutions. Richard Steinberg is the CEO of DriveNow. Gary Neff is the CEO of ParkNow.