While there's no shortage of public transport across London, the city is actually the most popular market for car-sharing services in Europe. Companies like ZipCar have enjoyed the burgeoning market for short-term vehicle rentals and now BMW wants in on it too. The Financial Times reports that the German carmaker will bring DriveNow, its own pay-as-you-go car-sharing service, to the capital later this week after successful launches across Germany but also in Vienna and San Francisco.
DriveNow, if you're not aware, is a joint venture between BMW and Sixt that matches available BMW cars to your location. If you've signed up, you can use the chip in your driver's license to open the car by placing it on the windscreen reader. Once inside, you then enter the unique pin-code you receive via the DriveNow app or website into the car's dash and you'll be charged by the minute as you travel.
The key difference between DriveNow and many other traditional car-sharing services is that when you are finished using the vehicle, it can be parked in a public location and does not need to be returned to a dedicated business address. Like Boris' Bikes, DriveNow will ensure it has enough cars to cover the enter city, even it means it has to physically drive them back to a location.
At launch, customers will be able to choose from a number of Mini models and the electric BMW i3. It's likely that BMW will go up against French billionaire Vincent Bollore, who is set to bring 3,000 all-electric hire cars to London in the next two years. Both services will assist the government in getting Brits to embrace the "sharing economy," which encourages people enjoy short-term loans instead of owning things outright (even if it gets some people in trouble).
[Image credit: kevinhackert, Flickr]