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PHOTO CAPTION: Illustration of BWM Active-E like that being offered for short-term rental in San Francisco.

BMW Rolls Out DriveNow Electric Carshare in San Francisco

BMW's DriveNow carshare program in San Francisco uses 70 all-electric ActiveE vehicles.

Published: 22-Aug-2012

A little over a year ago, BMW announced its DriveNow partnership with Sixt. That car-sharing service – which is active in three cities in Germany: Berlin, Munich and Dusseldorf – made its U.S. debut in San Francisco in June. Today, BMW gave more details on the San Francisco service and announced the upcoming launch of ParkNow.

DriveNow is a short-term rental scheme that is awfully similar to Daimler's Car2go program. Using your smartphone or a computer, you can locate a nearby available car and then rent it for 29 cents a minute. When you're done, you can park it anywhere within the defined business area and call it good. At least, that's how it works in Europe. In San Francisco, you pay $12 for the first 30 minutes, then 32 cents for each minute. Oh, and you need to return the car to a DriveNow location (there are currently eight) when finished. DriveNow in San Francisco uses 70 all-electric ActiveE vehicles, whereas other cities use some Mini models as well.

ParkNow is a service that will help you find open parking spaces. This is important because
BMW says there are "an estimated 505,000 vehicles in San Francisco, yet only 448,000 parking spaces available at any given time." With ParkNow, you can shorten your rental time by reserving a parking space ahead of time. You can find a spot, reserve it and prepay through your cell phone or the web. When using the mobile app, you can also get directions to "your" spot. There are currently 14 locations in San Francisco beta testing ParkNow and 100 more will be added in the next few weeks. ParkNow, a part of BMW i, is a joint venture between BMW and Urban Mobility and will officially start up in September. BMW said that both DriveNow and ParkNow will be coming to other cities in the future.

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