London car sharing program to include BMW i3 EV

The DriveNow program, a new car sharing service in London has decided to team up with BMW and Sixt SE as part of its expansion plan.

Begun as a small-scale program, DriveNow has entered the US market last year only but it has been live in Germany since 2011 as well as Austrian capital of Vienna.

Already, the service has 360,000 customers in seven locations in various countries spread across the globe.

In North London, the area served will be around 65 square km in size including three regions, Islington, Haringey, and Hackney.

In short time, DriveNow will be expanding to more areas.

Initially, BMW will launch its 210 1 Series and MINI Countryman models for the program.

The program is part of BMW’s strategic response to the growth in urban living and shared ownership.

The users have to pay a one-off registration fee in order to find and open the nearest car by card or via a mobile phone app. Customers can return vehicles anywhere within the zone.

The charging is done according to the time travelled per minute, with each minute of driving costing 39 pence.

The hourly rate costs £20 through which the customers save £3.40 per 60-minute hire.

Besides, each minute in the reserved park mode costs 19 pence.

In Germany, DriveNow has introduced saver packages for customers to buy blocks of minutes for a minimum of 32 pence per minute, as well as blocks of hours.

Prices for the hourly packages vary from £35 for three hours, including 40 free miles, to £120 for 24 hours, including 125 free miles.

In London program, the cost includes fuel, taxes, insurance and parking charges. The standard one-off registration fee for London will be £29.

By spring 2015, DriveNow intends to 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.

In North America, DriveNow is only in San Francisco at this time. Its plans for expansion include 15 additional European and 10 North American cities.

Car sharing services provide the facility to avoid car ownership without sacrificing the mobility.

Programs such as DriveNow, Zipcar, Car2Go, Autolib are suitable for complementing the short distances a person needs to travel.

Sabeena Wahid