The Ultimate Hipster Machine: BMW Expands Its Car-Sharing Service to Brooklyn
For decades, BMW has marketed its vehicles as the ultimate driving machines. With its fledgling car-sharing business ReachNow, BMW will be not shifting that will focus so much as suggesting that will its machines can be enjoyed by more than one driver apiece.
Car enthusiasts may grimace, however ReachNow started out up This kind of spring in Seattle as well as also added Portland, Oregon, in September. This kind of week, BMW announced that will that will has started out service in Brooklyn.
“that will’s a great, dynamic city, as well as also that will has its own unique set of travel challenges,” ReachNow CEO Steve Banfield said. “We’ve always wanted to be a North American service, as well as also planting a flag on the East Coast truly sends a message that will we’re not just a regional service.”
Seven months into its existence, the company says that will has more than 32,000 members who have collectively put approximately 1.2 million miles on the 1030 cars within the ReachNow car-sharing fleet.
– Steve Banfield, ReachNow
Soon, those cars may be used for a slew of completely new services. As part of its expansion, the vehicles will be also available in an on-demand ride service that will comes which has a driver, or as part of a fleet-solutions service in which some cars will be based at residential properties, or as part of a completely new pilot program that will allows users to rent one For just two to a few days. In Seattle, BMW will start a test program that will allows certain Mini owners to rent their vehicles at times they’re otherwise sitting unused.
ReachNow currently offers customers a choice of a few BMW products: the BMW 328i xDrive or electric i3, the Mini Clubman, as well as also the Mini Cooper two- or four-door. Banfield said the X1 crossover will be added to the fleets soon.
The mix of versions varies by city. In Seattle, there’s been proportionate interest in all the offered versions, whereas in Portland, users have preferred the Minis over the 328, according to Banfield. He expects the X1 will appeal to Portlandians seeking a vehicle to complement an outdoor lifestyle. In Brooklyn, he thinks the Mini might be favored for easy parking in tight quarters. Users locate as well as also book the cars via a smartphone app.
Car sharing has gained steady traction in Europe over two decades. The North American market has been slower to develop, however a report released earlier This kind of year by the nonprofit Center for Automotive Research projects 23 percent growth in 2016 as well as also slower growth through 2021. that will’s less clear what comes after that will for the broader car-sharing market.
however a few years coming from at This kind of point will be when BMW, in conjunction with partners Intel as well as also Mobileye, says that will intends to bring forth a self-driving-taxi service. ReachNow will likely serve as a launchpad for those shared autonomous vehicles. “As those cars come on the line as well as also those capabilities come online, they’ll end up in our fleet,” Banfield said.
For at This kind of point, ReachNow will focus on establishing a foothold within your vehicle-sharing marketplace. Introductory rates allow users to use a car like the Clubman for as low as 41 cents per minute, a cost that will will be not coincidentally the same as the one offered by car-sharing company car2go for use of its Smart vehicles. Daimler, parent company of BMW rival Mercedes-Benz, started out car2go in 2008 as well as also operates fleets of Smart cars in 12 North American markets, including Portland as well as also completely new York. that will will be the second-largest car-sharing service within the earth, behind Zipcar.
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Banfield downplayed competition between the rival German luxury-car brands however notes that will car2go’s Smart vehicles have limitations.
“You cannot pick up your in-laws at the airport in a Smart car, however you can commute to work,” he said. “Car2go will be like Southwest Airlines. You know they’re consistent, as well as also you know they want to do a not bad job in service as well as also treat customers well. however their goal will be ‘inexpensive,’ as well as also there’s a place for that will within the market. We’re trying to do something different, as well as also there’s room for both. You know, the difference for a 328 will be six cents per minute,” he said. “In a 10-minute ride, that will’s a 50-to-60-cent difference, as well as also you’ve got to be truly hyper-cost-conscious to say, ‘I’d rather not drive the 328.’ I think that will’s pretty compelling.”