Since its launch in 2011, the DriveNow Car Share scheme — a joint partnership between German automaker BMW and German car rental firm Sixt — has grown in popularity, providing ad hoc by-the-hour rental of high-end BMW and MINI cars to customers all over the world.
And while the majority of its fleet cars worldwide are powered by gasoline or diesel, the DriveNow scheme has even helped some of BMW’s limited-production ActiveE electric cars to escape the crusher, offering all-electric rental to customers in San Francisco, Munich and Berlin.
To date BMW’s first mass-produced car, the all-electric i3 hatchback, hasn’t featured in the DriveNow fleet, but now that’s changed thanks to the inclusion of thirty brand-new BMW i3 electric cars into BMW’s London DriveNow fleet.
London’s tight city streets, low emission zone and congestion charging — which electric cars are exempt from — make the BMW i3 the perfect addition to the London DriveNow fleet.
Initially, BMW says DriveNow customers in London who opt to use the i3 will have access to around a dozen specialist DriveNow charging points within the DriveNow London area. It is BMW’s hope that will expand in the coming months however, as DriveNow integrates with other charge providers and adds its own charging infrastructure too.
Later this summer BMW will introduce the i3 electric car to its other DriveNow fleets in other popular cities around the world. Berlin, where registered DriveNow customers can already rent an ActiveE by the hour, will be at the front of the queue to take on new BMW i3 cars after London.
Currently, BMW says Berlin DriveNow customers have access to around 150 charging points for use with the ActiveE, but plans to expand that by the middle of next year to more than 570, with 20 of the additional charging stations designed exclusively for CCS DC quick charging.
DriveNow customers who use the BMW i3 won’t have to pay the £11.50 congestion charging flat fee levied against those in gasoline or diesel DriveNow cars.
This will enable DriveNow customers who opt to use an i3 to recharge the vehicle from empty to 80 percent full in around 30 minutes, but it will also enable a fast turnaround between rentals and less downtime while the cars are recharging.
British customers can find the exact cost of the DriveNow pay-as-you use rates, as well as the details of prepay rentals at the UK DriveNow site. It’s worth noting that non-electric DriveNow rentals which include entering into the London Congestion Charging Zone incur a flat fee of £11.50 between the hours of 7am and 6pm, Monday to Friday.
Electric DriveNow customers won’t have to pay that.
Do you use DriveNow? Are you looking forward to giving the electric i3 rental cars a spin? Or perhaps you have experience of the DriveNow ActiveE cars dotted around various DriveNow Fleets in Europe and the U.S.
Leave your thoughts and your reviews of the DriveNow service in the Comments below.
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