DriveNow BMW 1 SeriesBMW and car rental firm Sixt have officially launched the ‘pay-as-you-go’ DriveNow scheme in Islington, Hackney and Haringey.

The new scheme claims to be the “most flexible and spontaneous car sharing service in London”.

After registration, the capital’s residents will be able to locate and reserve cars nearby using a smartphone app, leaving the car anywhere in the business area, with no obligation to return the car at the end.

Registration costs £29, with cars available for 39p per minute, plus a further 19p per minute for parking.

Given the way Londoners have embraced ‘Boris Bikes’, there’s every reason to suggest DriveNow will succeed where other schemes have failed. Having the ability to travel one way will be a major plus point, as is the kudos of having BMWs and MINIs on the fleet.

Joseph Seal-Driver, the UK head of DriveNow said: “Car sharing has really begun to capture Londoners’ imaginations but it’s still a fairly niche service. Londoners have told us that current services don’t reflect how they live and move.

“Our goal is that DriveNow’s introduction of a location and booking free, drive-by-the-minute, park anywhere service will act as the tipping point in transforming car sharing into a mainstream mobility choice for Londoners.”

It could be a tipping point for the car industry: analysts suggest that even a 5 per cent growth in car sharing could lead to a halving of new car sales…

Q&A: DriveNow in London

Where is the DriveNow service available?

DriveNow is already available in Berlin, Munich, Dusseldorf, Cologne, Hamburg, Vienna and San Francisco. Here in the UK, it will launch in Islington, Hackney and Haringey, with other boroughs joining the scheme next year.

What cars are available?

From launch, the BMW 1 Series and MINI Countryman will be available through the scheme. The electric i3 will join the fleet in 2015.

How many cars are available?

Presently, DriveNow is offering 210 cars, a figure which will expand to 300 in 2015. DriveNow will also offer a further 30 BMW i3s.

How much does it cost?

Users of the scheme pay a one-off £29 registration fee to receive the DriveNow Customer Card. Rental charges typically start from 39p per minute for driving and 19p per minute for parking. There’s an hourly cap of £20 and lower prices are available for regular users.

How does DriveNow work?

DriveNow customers can use a smartphone app to locate the nearest available car and make a booking. Alternatively, customers can call a customer service agent. 

The Customer Card or app is used to unlock and lock the cars. Once inside, entering a unique pin gets the car ready and no key is required to start the engine.

Can you leave the car anywhere?

The cars can be left in any public parking slot within the business area. 

Are there any extra costs?

Fuel, insurance, car tax and parking tickets are all included within the fee. Yes, that’s right, each DriveNow car is equipped with a parking permit. As a bonus, anyone returning the car with the fuel level above 90% will will earn 20 extra minutes from DriveNow. 

For more information visit DriveNow’s website