Have you been wanting to drive a BMW around town without paying the premium price tag of buying one from your local BMW dealer? If you are living in the San Francisco area, you finally have the chance now that BMW is bringing their premium DriveNow car sharing service to town. 70 BMW electric ActiveE cars will be available at 9 San Francisco locations by this September (many are actually available now) and ties in with the companies ParkNow service that allows drivers to reserve a specific parking spot near their destination.
While BMW isn’t the first company in the United Starts to offer a car sharing service, what sets them apart from competitors such as ZipCar is the fact that you can pick up the car at one location and drop it off in another. As an added bonus, users of the DriveNow program will receive the ParkNow service for free at the 14 nearby locations and will be also able to recharge the vehicle for free at any approved charging stations.
So how much does it cost to drive around in the electric ActiveE BMW? To signup you need to pay a $39 activation fee which is common with all car sharing services, and then $12 for the first 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, drivers pay 32 cents per minute of driving time and 13 cents per minute if the car is parked. That comes to $21.60 for the first hour and $19.20 for each extra hour of driving. To compare, driving a gas-powered BMW 328xi with the ZipCar service would cost $15.25 per hour. BMW is obviously being very competitive with their pricing for what they are calling a premium service.
The price actually gets better if you plan to rent the car for an entire day. For $109 using ZipCar, you can drive up to 180 miles before paying an extra 55 cents per mile. DriveNow is actually cheaper for the same 180 mile daylong rental. For $90 you get the same deal with all the added benefits of the parking and charging stations.
If you want to experience the luxury of driving around in a premium BMW, you now have a cheaper alternative if you live in San Francisco. The service initially launched in Germany back in June 2011, and BMW is quickly expanding the service to cities around the world. If the popularity is anything like that in Germany, you can expect to see BMW expanding to more US cities in the near future.
Photo by BMW