We’re used to hearing about “the Uber for this” or the “Airbnb for that” but how about “Boris Bikes for BMWs”?
Jospeh Seal-Driver, MD of DriveNow believes that “we’re actually even more flexible than Boris Bikes given you can drop your car anywhere,” and perhaps a touch more comfortable. Additionally, 30 of the 270 cars in the fleet are BMW i3s, making this the largest fleet of electric cars in the country.
DriveNow is a car sharing service for North and East Londoners which is free floating, meaning you can leave your ride (or “German Whip”, as BMWs are affectionately called around these parts) in residents parking bays, pay and display or any other legal parking space within a business area of 84 square kilometres which covers parts of Hackney, Islington and Haringey and Waltham Forest.
Users pay an up-front one-time fee of £29 to receive a DriveNow customer card and, providing they are approved, receive an activation code shortly after and a customer card within 3 days.
Cars can be located using the smartphone app, tablet, desktop or by phone, and users have an enviable choice of BMW i3, BMW 1 Series or MINI Countryman. The customer card opens the door and away you go, without having to worry about remembering precisely where you picked up from.
When it’s time to drop the car off its simple; leave it somewhere legal (DriveNow provides a cities guide to help you understand local parking regulations) and use the dashboard display to end the booking and lock the car. No need to worry about parking tickets, every car comes with a parking permit.
Fuel costs are included in the sign-up price and all available vehicles will be fully charged / fuelled when you pick them up, although there is a free top up card you can use to refuel should the level drop below 25%. Return the car with more than 90% fuel remaining and Drivecar will give you 20 minutes extra driving time for free (as well as satnav instructions to the nearest refuelling station).
Standard rates are 39 pence per minute, 19 pence when you are parked, but individual savings packages are available for regular users to help reduce the costs. Insurance and car tax are all included within the price.
Hackney is the first borough in London to introduce rapid electric chargers which can fully charge a vehicle in under 30 minutes as opposed to several hours; there are 3 publicly available 50kw devices situated on Bentley Road in Dalston, Calvert Avenue in Shoreditch and Reading Lane in Hackney Central.
DriveNow operates similar programmes in cities across the world including San Francisco, Vienna, Copenhagen and multiple German cities.
“DriveNow is committed to giving Londoners a competitive, emission-free alternative to traditional transport methods; our zero base fare and free mileage pricing structure means that most non-rush hour journeys work out cheaper than other on demand services like Uber and black cabs”
says Seal-Driver. You can also beat the congestion charge in an electric car too.
Hackney making driving cheaper, and parking easier? Whatever next, Driverless cars?