BMW prepare pay-as-you-go car club in London 1

i3The concept of Boris bikes has evolved to cars. BMW are set to launch a pay-as-you-go scheme in London.

Car sharing is an industry which has taken off in other parts of the world including the United States and is starting to make more of an impression across Europe and in London. BMW are taking advantage of the industry’s growing popularity.

BMW DriveNow already successful

BMW’s DriveNow scheme has already taken off around Europe in cities such as Berlin, San Francisco and Vienna. The original project started back in 2011. To begin with the venture was started with Sixt, the car rental company. The scheme counts for 360,000 customers in its home country of Germany, with it being the biggest company of its kind in the country.

Eventually the scheme will be launched in 15 different cities across Europe excluding Germany. The United States will also see 10 cities have BMW’s car sharing scheme launched.

How it works

Customers of DriveNow will have to pay a registration fee first. They will then drive their selected vehicle paying by the minute. The selection of vehicles that customers are able to choose from includes the Mini and the electric i3. Gaining access to vehicles will be done through a smartphone or a bank card. All other usual expenses involving car tax and insurance are included with the service.

A major opportunity in London

London represents the largest market for this specific type of industry, where members can borrow a car for a set period of time from a designated place and drop the car back to the same location. However DriveNow will work differently. Cars will be able to be parked in any public space within the local area. This is known as a “one-way” scheme.

Daimler failed with the same scheme

Car sharing in the UK is not an easy scheme to succeed in, as one German manufacturer has already found out. Daimler failed in this scheme back in 2012. They also started their venture in London and even managed to extend it to Birmingham. They failed on the basis that they couldn’t overcome the “unique challenges” they faced and the lack of parking spaces, closing the scheme in May this year.

BMW will be aiming to succeed where Daimler failed, learning from their mistakes. One major challenge will be that of distributing the vehicles evenly across the city.

Volkswagen and Peugeot-Citroën are also looking to join the industry. The popularity of “one-way” car sharing is set to soar in London. ZipCar are a popular car sharing service in London but do not operate using the “one-way” model. Will they have to change they operate to align themselves with BMW DriveNow?