BMW board member Peter Schwarzenbauer told Germany’s Spiegel Online that he could envisage expanding its DriveNow car-sharing operation to include a ride-sharing element which will compete with the likes of Uber and Lyft.
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Schwarzenbauer didn’t get into the details of the plan, but Spiegel Online speculates on a possible scenario – for example, DriveNow drivers – like students – could use the cars to offer shared rides.
Such a service should be cheap to get off the ground and would help get maximum value out of BMW’s existing car sharing fleet, which operates in cities in Germany, Austria, the U.K., Denmark and Sweden.
DriveNow has added more than 470,000 customers around the world over the last four years, including 430,000 in Germany (120,000 in Berlin). Since 2013, DriveNow has been running 60 all-electric BMW ActiveE cars in Munich and Berlin as part of the WiMobil and ePlan research projects. They have performed outstandingly well in day-to-day use and have been replaced by 40 BMW i3 cars in Berlin, 30 in Hamburg and 30 in Munich.
In Germany, Uber has also been forced to dramatically scale back its expansion due to various court bans and opposition from tax operators. Yet BMW could benefit from its status to overcome such hurdles.