The BMW Group recently announced a new car sharing service that will allow subscribers to rent selected MINI and BMW models. The newly-named “ReachNow” service will debut in Seattle with plans to move into ten North American cities (not yet named). Users will be able to rent MINI 2 Door and MINI 4 Door vehicles in addition to the BMW i3 and 3 Series.
From the BMW Group press release:
Car-sharing 2.0 offers new and innovative services
BMW Group remains the driving force for individual mobility of the future
Consistent implementation of the strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT
Seattle. Under the new brand name “ReachNow”, BMW Group is launching an enhanced car sharing service in Seattle (USA) today. The programme is based on the successful business model currently operating in Europe under the name “DriveNow”. Customers in the USA will soon be able to choose further future-oriented services for bespoke individual mobility. ReachNow is starting in Seattle with an initial fleet of 370 BMW and MINI vehicles. 20 percent of the entire fleet is made up of BMW i3 electric vehicles. In addition to Seattle, ReachNow will be expanded into further cities in the USA.
This move is in line with the company’s strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT, as outlined by BMW AG Management Board Chairman Harald Krüger three weeks ago. The strategy states that the development of customer-oriented mobility services will be one of the company’s central business fields in the years ahead.
Peter Schwarzenbauer, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG and responsible for MINI, BMW Motorrad, Rolls-Royce, After Sales and Mobility Services said at the ReachNow launch in Seattle: “We are currently witnessing an extremely exciting period in the development of the automotive industry. Our customers rightly expect uncomplicated and fast solutions to their individual mobility needs, especially in metropolitan regions. This is why we are supplementing our classic business model with additional services that make life on the road easier for people in big cities. I am pleased that with the establishment of the ReachNow brand, we are able to offer our customers in Seattle “on-demand mobility” – mobility when it’s needed, from one single source. With this service, we are building up on Drive Now, our extremely successful European business model, and bringing it up to a new level in the USA. Seattle is an innovative, internationally-oriented city which makes it the perfect location to launch these services.”
ReachNow customers in the USA will be able to book the first new services in 2016:
- Delivery service
The desired vehicle is delivered to the customer. This service is particularly interesting to those who wish to transport luggage or live in areas with a limited number of parking spaces. Customers who wish to avoid walking to the car, will also find this service attractive. Furthermore, booking the service can ensure that a vehicle is readily available at the desired time.
- Using the vehicle for a longer period
ReachNow is merging car-sharing and conventional car rental services: During the journey, customers can spontaneously decide to keep their ReachNow vehicle for several days, without having to change the vehicle or going to a rental station. The most favourable rate will always be charged.
- Car sharing for closed user groups
A pool of ReachNow vehicles is made available exclusively to companies or residential complexes for example, and kept on their respective premises. Thanks to the possibility of long-term advance booking, availability is guaranteed.
- Renting out your own car via ReachNow
Customers may rent out their own car via ReachNow, for example if the owner is on vacation. This can reduce the cost of owning a car. Customers will have the option to restrict the availability of the vehicle to their social media contacts. The service is subject to certain specific technical prerequisites required of the vehicle.
- Chauffeur Service – Car booking with a driverFor those who do not wish to get behind the steering wheel ReachNow will later on also offer an option to book a car with a chauffeur. This allows to reach a destination even more relaxed.
Easy registration via smartphone
New members can register with ReachNow in a matter of minutes using their smartphone camera, including driving licence check and credit card deposit. There is no need to go to a branch office for identification. ReachNow customers can drive away immediately. The customer’s smartphone, or the customer card sent by post, serves as the car key.
RideCell as a system partner of ReachNow
ReachNow’s partner in the USA is RideCell. The San Francisco-based technology start-up enterprise has been linked to BMW i since 2014, via a minority share held by BMW i Ventures. RideCell is now a system partner of ReachNow and responsible for the IT platform and all customer interfaces dealing with reservations and invoicing.
DriveNow from Europe serves as a role model
Like DriveNow in Europe, ReachNow uses what’s known as the free-floating principle, with vehicles freely distributed over the urban area instead of at fixed pick-up and return stations. Using the smartphone app, members can view the locations of available vehicles, make a reservation, be guided to the selected vehicle, open it without a key and simply drive off. Use of the vehicle is charged by the minute. When the vehicle is no longer needed, it can be left in a permitted parking space anywhere within the urban area.
All models are charged at a rate of 0.49 USD for each minute the vehicle is used and a break of journey (parking) 0.30 USD per minute. The vehicle fleet comprises the BMW i3 electric car, the BMW 328i and the MINI Cooper. The one-off registration fee is 29 USD. ReachNow is launching with an introductory offer of just 0.41 USD for each minute the vehicle is used and registration is free of charge. All prices are inclusive of insurance, petrol, electricity, parking costs, taxes and fees.
DriveNow, the joint car sharing venture between the BMW Group and Sixt SE, offers top-quality premium BMW and MINI-brand vehicles for rental in European cities according to the free-floating principle. The vehicles can be rented and returned anywhere within a defined area of the city. Well over half a million registered customers can locate and reserve the vehicles via the DriveNow app or website and can use the service in any DriveNow city. DriveNow operates a fleet of more than 4,000 vehicles at locations in Munich, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Hamburg, Vienna, London, Copenhagen and Stockholm. 20 percent of these are electric BMW i3s. Several scientific studies show that a DriveNow vehicle is substitution for at least three privately owned cars, meaning DriveNow is making a contribution towards reducing traffic congestion in urban areas.