Bmw AG announced today that it will introduce a new car-sharing scheme in two German cities (initially in Munich and later in Berlin) that could also be extended across Europe and possibly in the United States. Bmw set up a 50-50 joint venture with Sixt, a.k.a. Germany's biggest car rental company, in order to run the scheme called DriveNow.
With this joint venture, Bmw aims to win over 1 million customers by 2020. Moreover, Bmw joins Daimler AG and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen SA, offering short-term rental offers that give people access to a car without the cost of ownership. Bmw Group will offer the DriveNow under the new sub-trademark BMW I, which stands for innovative mobility services and set to reinforce the position of the original BMW brand as a sustainable and forward-looking brand.
Apparently, the DriveNow will be very simple and affordable: the user pays a one-off registration fee of 29 euros, while the charge for using the vehicle is 29 cents (including sales tax) per minute. This rate per minute also covers all costs such as parking fees and fuel. For the MINI Cooper there is a maximum hourly charge of euro 14.90.
If you want to interrupt your journey but keep the DriveNow vehicle, you will pay only 10 cents per minute. DriveNow is also making special introductory offer for the first 1,000 members. The one-off registration fee is reduced to euro 19 and they also receive 90 minutes free of charge.
As we said, the DriveNow will start in Munich and will offer approximately 300 BMW 1 Series and MINI vehicles. Bmw wants to assure that customers will usually have no more than 500 metres to walk to the nearest available vehicle. Berline scheme will start later and will feature approximately 500 vehicles.
DriveNow represents a new system of car sharing that eliminates the necessity for car hire stations. There are no more specific pick-up or drop-off locations. Users simply log on to www.drive-now.com, or use a smartphone app or just wait roadside in order to find and ride an available vehicle. The vehicles do not strictly require reservations but advanced bookings are possible online or through the smartphone app.
As a “keyless” system, car keys can be done away with. Users can open or close any DriveNow vehicle with just their license, which has a chip that works with the system. To start the vehicle, they simply press the start button. Interested individuals only have to accomplish an application at the www.drive-now.com website and a corresponding one-time in-person registration at designated Sixt stations where their driving license can be validated and provided with the chip for the system.
There are also specific BMW or MINI dealer shops that have Sixt registration facilities. Beginner drivers aged 18-21 are also eligible as DriveNow members once they participate and pass an accredited driving safety training course. These courses are also available through the BMW Group. DriveNow’s pricing system is all-inclusive, easy and transparent. There is just a one-time 29 euro registration payment.
Henceforth, the cost of vehicle usage is 29 cents per minute, inclusive of sales tax, parking fees, fuel and all extra costs. There are special rules for certain models, like the MINI Cooper which has a maximum rate of 14.90 euro per hour. Users who interrupt their route while keeping the DriveNow vehicle are charged 10 cents a minute.
Therefore, DriveNow provides a flexible transportation option that does not rely on hire stations while maintaining aspects of the traditional process of old-school car sharing. As an introductory scheme, DriveNow offers special pricing for its 1,000 founder members. The initial registration cost is reduced to only 19 euros on top of getting 90 free usage minutes.