News: BMW launches London car sharing service DriveNow

Rent it, drive it, park it

DriveNow car sharing in London

BMW CLAIMS its new DriveNow car sharing service in London is the most “spontaneous and flexible” available, as it allows users to rent a car by the minute and park it anywhere in participating London boroughs.

The service, dubbed DriveNow, is a partnership between BMW and Sixt, a German hire car company. Members pay a one-off £29 registration fee to gain access to a fleet of 210 BMW 1-series and Minis dotted around Islington, Hackney and Haringey.

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Users then log on to a dedicated DriveNow app, available for both iOS and Android phones, to locate and even open the nearest car, and a physical identity card is then used to operate them.

Drivers are charged 39p a minute – with an hourly cap of £20 – to use the cars. The only stipulation is that users park the cars in any legal on-street parking space in the participating London boroughs – this includes all residential permitted parking zones – meaning users enjoy unrivalled parking access across some of London’s busiest areas.

Although the number of cars is limited, the new car sharing scheme could catch on; Driving visited the websites of Avis, Europcar and Hertz to book a hire car at short notice for the same day and there was no availability.

DriveNow already has some 360,000 customers in cities abroad, including Berlin, Munich, Dusseldorf, Cologne, Hamburg, Vienna and San Francisco. BMW and Sixt say they plan to expand to other locations.

The number of available vehicles in London will rise to 300 in 2015, with the introduction of London’s first electric car fleet with the arrival of 30 BMW i3s.

Ben Plowden, Director of Strategy and Planning for Surface Transport at Transport for London, said: “The Mayor and TfL have long supported the growth of car sharing schemes across London, as they can help encourage more alternative travel choices.”