If you’ve been reading our articles for some time, you’ll have noticed how BMW is the only German car manufacturer to have enthusiastically, logically and intelligently embraced the electrification of some of its car lineup. Considering the rest of its local competition is still dabbling with hybrids, tweaking projects and just spending too much time talking about future developments, BMW has taken the advantage to leap frog the its direct competition.
DriveNow With ParkNow. As part of its strategy to give their potential electric drivetrain drivers the most positive experience, BMW has put together a four-pillar master plan. See our BMW Takes on Apple Store with it's BMW i Store
The original program that plans to offer mobility options to enable drivers with longer distances to be covered by the loan of another BMW has been tested in San Francisco. Launched in the Bay Area in June, the program gives BMW registered clients vehicles powered by a conventional, fuel-efficient internal combustion engine. The program is now being extended with an additional 70 “luxurious” cars, now called ParkNow.
Where And How? Registered clients can find the vehicles they desire using the company’s DriveNow website or mobile app to locate and reserve one. According to the press release, fully electric BMW ActiveE can be found at eight DriveNow centers throughout San Francisco with two more locations coming soon. According to Ian Robertson, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG: "The BMW Group not only manufactures premium automobiles, but also develops a range of services to meet the growing need for flexible mobility solutions in urban areas,”
How Much? According to BMW, the first 30 minutes of driving will cost you $12. For the following minutes, you will be charged $0.32 and each minute the car is parked you will pay a $0.13 “fee”. A better bet seems to be to keep the car for a day at $90.
DriveNow, which was launched in Germany back in June 2011 has already about 45,000 members in Munich, Berlin, and Dusseldorf. Drivers can use the free DriveNow Carsharing iOS app for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and of course the iPad. Its success shows how BMW has strategically thought out a complete user experience and implementing in a very Teutonic way, pragmatically. Of course, we can always smile at the ingenious ways BMW proposes to lend what it terms as “luxurious” cars, which are non-other than their bigger, heavier gasoline powered cars, albeit with more fuel efficient engines. It is a smart way to show what else the company has to offer.
While many have doubted BMW’s commitment to the electric drive, as I have in the past, its early trials are now spawning a complete user strategy with DriveNow and ParkNow.