BMW Group’s DriveNow Launches in London

DriveNow is a car-sharing joint venture from the BMW Group and the car rental company Sixt. Through this partnership BMW contributes the vehicles and automotive technology, while Sixt provides the services, the car rental know-how, the IT systems, and an extensive network of stations for customer registration. The program is now available in Munich, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Cologne, Hamburg, Vienna, and San Francisco with already has 360,000 registered customers.

Last week however, BMW annouced the availabilty of the service across three Londong boroughs: Islington, Hackney & Haringey. 210 1 Series and MINI Countryman will be available at launch, but the fleet will add 30 all-electric i3 cars in spring 2015, expanding it to a total of 300 vehicles during the course of next year.

This initiative is part of the BMW Group’s strategy to remain relevant in space imapcted by growth in urban living and shared owership. Unfortunately we haven’t had a chance to try it, but we’d love to hear you feedback if you have.

Thanks to an iOS and Android app the service seems fairly easy to use, but read on to learn all the details.

Official Release: World leaders in urban mobility solutions, BMW Group and Sixt today announced the launch of London’s most spontaneous and flexible car sharing service – DriveNow.

The DriveNow service, which already has over 360,000 customers globally across seven locations (Berlin, Munich, Dusseldorf, Cologne, Hamburg, Vienna and San Francisco) will launch across three London boroughs Islington, Hackney and Haringey from today with other boroughs set to launch the pioneering service in 2015.

Joseph Seal-Driver, UK Head of DriveNow comments: ‘Car sharing has really begun to capture Londoners’ imaginations but it’s still a fairly niche service. Londoners have told us that current services don’t reflect how they live and move. Our goal is that DriveNow’s introduction of a location and booking free, drive-by-the-minute, park anywhere service will act as the tipping point in transforming car sharing into a mainstream mobility choice for Londoners.’

A one-time registration fee of £29 gives DriveNow customers access to a fleet of 210 (up to 300 in 2015) top of the range BMW 1 Series and MINIs. From Spring 2015 the fleet will also be London’s first electric car fleet with the arrival of 30 BMW i3s.

DriveNow car sharing service promises not only to be London’s most stylish, but also its most flexible and spontaneous car sharing service thanks to being entirely location and booking free – cars have no fixed bay to return to, and can be dropped for free anywhere across the boroughs.

The DriveNow App (available on iOS and Android devices) is used by customers to locate and open their nearest car, or they simply use their customer card to unlock and activate a car they’ve seen on the street.

Their driving experience is then totally tailored to their needs as they only pay for the minutes they drive (at 39p a minute with an hourly cap of £20 to drive a DriveNow car, or from as low as 32p with DriveNow savings packages) and can drop the car for as long as they want, wherever they want. The DriveNow service has been the first in London to negotiate with the boroughs

Hackney, Islington and Haringey for its customers to be able to park in ANY legal on-street parking space, including all residential parking zones, giving its customers unparalleled parking access across some of the capital’s busiest creative, leisure and business centres.

DriveNow’s unique ‘drop anywhere’ service makes it possible to use DriveNow even for one-way trips – opening up a whole new range of uses for car-sharing.

Peter Schwarzenbauer, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, and responsible for mobility services comments: ‘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. ’

‘We believe location and flexible car sharing services are the future for busy global capitals’ says Alexander Sixt, Managing Director at Sixt. ‘Over half a DriveNow journeys are enjoyed every month around the world which speaks volumes for the potential of our pioneering service in London.’

Ben Plowden, Director of Strategy and Planning for Surface Transport at Transport for London, commented: ‘The Mayor and TfL has long supported the growth of car sharing schemes across London, as they can help encourage more alternative travel choices. The arrival of DriveNow into London will help support more sustainable urban mobility while keeping the city moving.”

The first 1000 customers to sign up for DriveNow membership will be able to register for free using the code ‘LONDON’ when registering at www.uk.drive-now.com – saving themselves £29. They additionally receive 30 free minutes for using DriveNow.