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Published Date: 12/11/2012

BMW Charges Up Electric Car Sharing ServiceBMW continue to distinguish themselves as one of the most forward-thinking car manufacturers, this time by unveiling an innovative new electric car-sharing initiative called DriveNow in San Francisco.

The eco-friendly service enables drivers in the busy city to rent a battery-powered ActiveE 1 Series Coupe by the minute.

The German automaker’s electric car-sharing service, comprised of 70 ActiveE vehicles, will be a godsend in a city infamous for heavy congestion. Parking is also a problem in San Francisco, with around 505,733 cars vying for just 448,000 parking spaces. Fortunately, BMW has also introduced a new app called ParkNow, which enables drivers to reserve and pay for garage spaces using an automated credit card feature.

BMW clearly has its finger on the pulse of the urban driving market, in which drivers requiring a vehicle for a limited amount of time are ready to embrace easily accessible hire cars as a money-saving alternative to car ownership. It is an added bonus to the environment that the ActiveE 1 Series Coupes, which will be available to hire from eight locations dotted across San Francisco, use a clean energy source.

Progressive initiatives like DriveNow are not only helpful, but a necessity. Sprawling metropolitan cities like Tokyo and Beijing are already imposing strict limitations on parking permits and car ownership, meaning accessible, efficient and effective alternatives are much in demand. The San Francisco DriveNow car-sharing service joins similar BMW initiatives in Berlin, Munich and Dusseldorf, which have successfully provided a solution to a pressing issue for 40,000 members.

Planning to expand DriveNow to other U.S. cities, BMW has made a good choice in selecting the ActiveE 1 Series Coupe for its green fleet of inner city hire cars. It is extremely responsive, boasting precision steering, and is suitably nimble to meet the challenges of busy city roads. On a full charge the ActiveE manages approximately 80 miles, although the handy eco-mode enables the car to deliver closer to 100 miles.

All eyes will be on the ActiveE and how the DriveNow service pans out, particularly those of BMW, who are using the car as a testbed for their electric drive train development. Although BMW has said it will be putting more development focus into hybrids, their full electric model is an important part of their business strategy. The ActiveE should serve as a beacon to steer the automotive industry towards greener vehicles that perform necessary functions in our congested cities.

To rent a DriveNow BMW for a day costs $90 and comes with 180 miles. Drivers can exceed 180 miles but pay an extra 55 cents per mile. Short duration hire is charged at $12 for the first half an hour with 32 cents charged for every minute thereafter. Parked or charging cars cost the driver 13 cents per minute.

BMW continues to drive progress in the car industry and their DriveNow service should be a hit with environmentally conscious drivers who require a hassle free hire option in San Francisco.

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