BMW Launches ActiveE DriveNow Electric Car Sharing In San Francisco

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BMW DriveNow service launches in San Francisco

BMW DriveNow service launches in San Francisco

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We quite like the BMW ActiveE. It's a good-looking, comfortable, quick electric car, and its existence will help develop BMW's first true electric production car, the 2014 BMW i3.

Now, thanks to BMW's car sharing service DriveNow, residents in San Francisco will also get to enjoy the ActiveE's charms.

The service was initially launched in June, but BMW now has a fleet of 70 ActiveE vehicles in the city, and 8 DriveNow stations. Further stations are planned at key locations, such as Palo Alto and San Francisco International Airport.

Customers can use the website or DriveNow app, downloadable from the Apple iTunes store, to locate one of the 70 ActiveEs in the city.

Once you've selected a vehicle, you simply press the "book now" button, and head to your nearest DriveNow valet station--located close to Bay Area Rapid Transit hubs and municipal railway stations.

The car unlocks with your drivenow ID, and a pin number is used to start the car. After that you're away--making best use of the ActiveE's 80-100 mile range.

The first 30 minutes of driving will cost you $12, and it's another $0.32 for each minute after that. You can even keep the car for a whole day, for $90. Once you're done, drop the car off at a DriveNow station and select "end reservation" on the in-car touch screen. All pretty simple.

As with other schemes like Daimler's Car2Go, operating in San Diego and some other cities with Smart ForTwo Electric Drives, car sharing is still one of the best ways of introducing drivers to electric vehicles--and with a BMW badge on the front, it could prove pretty successful in San Francisco.


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Comments (3)
  1. Antony, do you know if there is a membership or initial fee or if the cost is only for the time used? I ask because I think this is a great thing and I'd love to rent one of these myself. I expect to be in the Bay Area/SF in the next 3-6 months and this is intriguing...

    Oh, almost forgot, great article. All it takes is a couple of hours in an EV/PHEV for many sceptics and they realize that there's no sacrifice at all for the better EVs. With Tesla, the opposite, actually. Given what Tesla's already done, I can't wait to see the 2014-2015 offerings from others like BMW, Audi and Infiniti.

  2. Sorry for the late reply - DriveNow says it has no monthly or annual fees, so I suspect it's as simple as downloading the app and paying the rental fee.

  3. Antony, thanks, and no problem on the delay, either. I finally got off my lazy butt and did a little research. It will probably be a few months, but if I do this, I'll let you know how things go.

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