BMW DriveNow Possibly Coming To Seattle

MAR 4 2015 BY STAFF 5

bmw drivenow san francisco 08 750x500 BMW hopes to launch DriveNow car sharing in Seattle

BMW DriveNow Fleet San Francisco

The popular Car2Go car-sharing program launched in Seattle nearly two years ago and it has seen great success with more than 59,000 drivers and 500 vehicles in the fleet.

Due to the popular demand in a city known for its techy culture, the Seattle City Council will meet next month to potentially approve new legislation that will allow up to four “free-floating car sharing pilot programs” in the city.

The city expects to bring in $2.2 million in permit revenue in 2015 with an estimated 1,300 free-floating vehicles, and $3.4 million in 2016 with 2,000 vehicles.

One company that has expressed interest in offering free-floating vehicles in Seattle is BMW and its DriveNow car-sharing service. The popular program is available in six European countries and was launched last year in San Francisco as well.

*Editor’s Note: This post appears on BMWBLOG. Check it out here.

drivenow london 750x500 BMW hopes to launch DriveNow car sharing in Seattle

BMW DriveNow London

BMW DriveNow CEO Rich Steinberg told GeekWire that he’s been watching the regulatory environment in Seattle and is waiting for city officials to take action.

“If the regulations move forward, Seattle would be a great city for us to enter,” he said. “We recognize certain attributes of the progressive nature of citizens that make it conducive to car-sharing and Seattle ranks high on our list.”

If DriveNow launched in Seattle, Steinberg said there would be a combination of MINI Cooper hard-tops, two-door hatchbacks, and some smaller BMW sedans.

The logistics are also a bit of challenge for BMW. In San Francisco, DriveNow’s users are not allowed to park in city-designated spots, but rather BMW’s own parking garages.

Steinberg said DriveNow would likely mimic BMW’s operations in Europe versus San Francisco, since Seattle has regulations that allow free-floating vehicles to park on city streets. For the ActiveE fleet, Steinberg says he would like to work with city officials and utility operators in Seattle to come up with potential charging solutions around town.

“In a perfect world, we’d have curbside plug-in locations, but we don’t expect that to be available on Day 1,” Steinberg said.

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5 Comments on "BMW DriveNow Possibly Coming To Seattle"

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I wonder how long this will last. As in San Fran Seattle has limited parking and there is growing concern about limited parking spots being taken up by such companies as Car2Go. Businesses are complaining to the city council that customers can’t find parking and their businesses are suffering from car sharing programs. Seattle might begin putting heavier regulations on the car sharing programs in the near future.

I see those little Smarts everywhere here in Seattle. Been tempted to just try one, but where I go my electric scooter or my mountain bike usually suffice.

My kids see Smarts and they call them – “Dumb Cars” because that’s what daddy calls them! A death trap on wheels that gets less than 40MPG and seats two – WhooHoo!

Still, a GoCart like a Smart can be pretty handy in lots of situations I can think of – esp. for apt. and condo dwellers. It seems tricky to find a way other than parking garages where these cars don’t clog up the already way-limited amount of parking spots in a lot of older neighborhoods and esp. the business districts.

I always wonder how good opportunity rentals are – like, how can you count on one being nearby and available when you need one? Even if there were 2 or 3 available, – you have an urgent appointment to get to – and there isn’t one there! – ???

I see Uber and those kinds of solutions being more practical and they don’t take up needed parking spaces.

*Car2Go Smarts, I meant.

Jay – how long must we toil and trouble until the new-and-improved InsideEVs website gets an Edit feature, bud? 🙂

On the positive side also – I can see this being the first EV driving experience many will have. Those positive seeds planted can grow big dividends in the future. That person marries, moves out to the suburbs, becomes a new car buyer – and BAM! Those good, positive electric-drive vibes can be a major influence!

I use DriveNow in the Bay Area, would love to see it in Seattle too. I wouldn’t mind if the city designated dedicated parking spots to shared EVs, especially if they came with chargers installed. Now that would be some forward thinking city management.