DriveNow, the carsharing joint venture between the BMW Group and Sixt SE (earlier post), has launched its flexible carsharing service in London. Initially, 210 BMW 1 Series and MINI Countryman models will be available for spontaneous hire. DriveNow furthermore intends to add 30 all-electric BMW i3 cars to the London fleet in spring 2015, expanding it to a total of 300 vehicles during the course of next year.
The scheme 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 neighboring boroughs before long.
DriveNow is already an international success, with more than 360,000 regular customers in Europe and America and we are delighted now to launch it in London, Europe’s largest city. 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.—Peter Schwarzenbauer, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG and responsible for Mobility Services
Every journey is charged to the exact minute, with each minute of driving in London costing 39 pence ($0.61). The hourly rate is capped at £20 ($31.31), so that customers save £3.40 ($5.32) per 60-minute hire. Each minute in the reserved park mode costs 19 pence (#0.30). As in Germany, DriveNow additionally offers saver packages, which allow customers to buy blocks of minutes for as little as 32 p ($0.50) per minute, as well as blocks of hours.
Prices for the hourly packages vary from £35 ($55) for three hours, including 40 free miles, to £120 ($188) for 24 hours, including 125 free miles. All costs such as fuel, taxes, insurance and parking charges are already included in London as well. The standard one-off registration fee for London will be £29 ($45).
DriveNow is currently available in five cities in Germany—München, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Köln and Hamburg—as well as in the Austrian capital Vienna and in San Francisco, USA. It gives more than 360,000 customers access to a fleet of some 3,000 premium BMW and MINI cars in any of these cities.
DriveNow is a carsharing joint venture by BMW Group and Sixt SE. Each company holds a 50 percent share of the joint venture. BMW Group contributes the vehicles and the automotive technology to the joint company. Sixt SE, in turn, provides the services, the car rental know-how, the IT systems, and an extensive network of stations for customer registration.