Automakers continue to push into the shared-car market. Today BMW announced ReachNow, a premium, free-floating car sharing service in Seattle. Users can get short-term one-way rentals of BMW 3 Series, Mini Cooper or i3 vehicles anywhere in the city.
The service is more like Car2go than ZipCar. ReachNow is launching with 370 vehicles which can be picked up and dropped off anywhere within the city including metered parking spots that are free for the vehicles.
The automaker noted that approval for new users to start renting cars takes only about two minutes or less. Helpful if you're in a bind and there's a vehicle nearby. In fact, the people of Seattle can sign up and drive a car today. ReachNow live right now and apps for iOS and Android are available in their respective app stores.
The service charges a per-minute rate of $.49 while the car is being used and $.30 while it's parked. There's also a one-time registration fee of $39. There are hourly caps of $50 for three hours, $80 for 12 hours and $110 for 24 hours. The fees include gas, insurance and parking meters within the service area.
BMW plans to expand the service to three more cities by the end of 2016. It will also be rolling out enhancements to the service like car delivery, long term rentals, chauffeurs, and the chance for BMW owners to rent out their personal cars.
This isn't BMW's first shot at car sharing. It suspended the DriveNow service in San Francisco last year after running into regulatory issues. The City by the Bay wants all car sharing-services to have designated parking spaces. The German automakers free-floating service just didn't fly.