BMW taps into sharing economy with launch of DriveNow across London

BMW is one of the latest brands to tap into the 'sharing economy' as it rolls out its car sharing scheme DriveNow in London, a response to huge growth in urban living.

BMW: car sharing scheme DriveNow has rolled out across three London boroughs
BMW: car sharing scheme DriveNow has rolled out across three London boroughs

Partnering with car hire company Sixt, BMW confirmed the "urban mobility" service is now live in three London boroughs – Islington, Hackney and Haringey. DriveNow will be rolled out across London throughout 2015. 

DriveNow works by giving users access to a fleet of BMWs and Minis for a registration fee. They use an app to track down the nearest vehicle and use a customer card to unlock it. It already has 360,000 customers globally in locations including Berlin, Munich and San Francisco.

BMW said it would charge users a one-time fee of £29 for the service and drivers would pay 39p a minute with an hourly cap of £20 for use of a vehicle.

In London, users would have access to a fleet of 210 cars initially and 300 by next year.

The cars have no fixed drop off or pick up point and can be parked anywhere for free across the boroughs where DriveNow is active.

"Car sharing has really begun to capture Londoners' imaginations but it's still a fairly niche service," said Joseph Seal-Driver, UK head of DriveNow.

"Londoners have told us that current services don't reflect how they live and move. Our goal is that DriveNow's introduction of a location and booking free, drive-by-the-minute, park anywhere service will act as the tipping point in transforming car sharing into a mainstream mobility choice for Londoners."

As part of the launch campaign, developed by agency The Corner, seven bespoke Mini’s have been designed carrying ‘car toppers’ designed to raise awareness of the activities Londoners could do if they used DriveNow. The toppers include a giant guitar, popcorn, coffee cup, briefcase and aubergine.

Until the 14 December, consumers who spot one of the cars and upload a photo to Facebook have a chance to win 100 free minutes through the service. 

BMW said the move to develop DriveNow was a "strategic response to the growth in urban living and shared ownership" and that it would expand it to 15 more cities across Europe.

The first 1,000 customers to sign up for DriveNow can register free with the code ‘LONDON'.