There is no better way to expose the public to your products than making them available for testing at your target market's leisure. That is what BMW is doing with their car-sharing program, DriveNow. Partnered with European car rental service Sixt, the car-sharing program has amassed a fleet of nearly 5100 vehicles, which includes gasoline, diesel and electric vehicles. Already world renowned for their luxury class vehicles, BMW has made no surprises that their new focus will be on shifting to their new line up of electric vehicles. The automaker announced this week that they will be deploying another 550 electric vehicles to the car-sharing service. 400 of which will be all electric and an additional 150 hybrids across the city of Hamburg by 2019.
DriveNow already employs 400 BMW i3s and will increase that number by another 200 more before the end of the year. Experts are also expecting the new electric mini to be added to the fleet since the vehicles will by delivered by 2019 and that is when the new model is expected to be released. The last time BMW deployed such a large number of vehicles for DriveNow was in 2015 with 400 i3 EVs. The German automaker also intends to improve the electric vehicle infrastructure in the city by adding more charging stations to a total of 1150, more than one per vehicle in operation for the service. The company has also heavily invested in the charging infrastructure across the Atlantic Ocean in the United States in preparation for future adoption to electric vehicles.
"With Hamburg as our strong partner, we want to continue expanding our highly-attractive options for sustainable individual mobility in the city and help improve environmental conditions in urban areas. DriveNow is already a genuine success story - in Hamburg and in other cities. I firmly believe this is an important step to win over even more users for electrified car-sharing." - Peter Schwarzenbauer, member of the Board of Management of BMW's Digital Business. Car-sharing is nothing new with automakers trying to capitalize on the growing market and prevent other services such as Uber and Lyft from having a monopoly on their vehicles. Tesla already has already prohibited the owners of their vehicles from renting out their vehicles in car-sharing services unless it is through their own service. BMW has set their goal of selling 100,000 electric vehicles in 2017. That goal may not be too far off nor impossible since the sales of the i3 and i8 are already up 50% from last year.