Roll Up Like A Boss In A Bimmer, BMW To Take On Uber In Ride Sharing Service
Whether it's showing up to the blacktop to trash talk the regulars in a game of hoops or meeting downtown with investors on a new venture, you'll make a bigger statement by stepping out of a Bimmer (it's's not a Beemer, folks) than showing up all sweaty from pedaling your Schwinn. Sure, life may have had other plans, putting a BMW out of your price range for the time being, but once the automaker launches its ReachNow car-sharing program, it won't matter.
This isn't BMW's first foray into the car-sharing sector. BMW offers a similar service in Europe called DriveNow, and that's what ReachNow will be modeled after. The rubber will meet the road starting in Seattle with an initial fleet of 370 BMW vehicles comprised of BMW 3 Series, Mini Cooper, and i3 electric cars.
"We are currently witnessing an extremely exciting period in the development of the automotive industry. Our customers rightly expect uncomplicated and fast solutions to their individual mobility needs, especially in metropolitan regions... With this service, we are building up on DriveNow, our extremely successful European business model, and bringing it up to a new level in the USA. Seattle is an innovative, internationally-oriented city which makes it the perfect location to launch these services," BMW's Peter Schwarzenbaur said in a statement.
BMW sees ReachNow being especially handy for people who wish to transport luggage or live in locations where parking spaces are in short order, as well as those who simply want to avoid walking to their car.
At the outset, ReachNow will have more in common with a car rental service like Hertz or Car2Go than it will with Uber or Lyft, the latter two of which act as chauffeurs. With ReachNow, the vehicle is delivered to the customer, who is charged a sign-up fee of $39 and then $0.49 per minute while driving. When he or she is finished, a customer can leave the car in a permitted parking space anywhere within the urban area—parking costs are already included in the fees, as are insurance, gas, electricity, and taxes.
Looking down the road, BMW will eventually allow customers to book rides with a driver similar to Uber and Lyft. It's also looking beyond the Seattle area with plans to add three more cities by the end of the year.