BMW is launching a new car sharing program in the US, beating rival Tesla Motors Inc which has still only hinted at launching a similar program in the future
Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) is already behind World’s largest luxury automaker BMW (ETR: BMW) in the space of mass market mid-priced electric vehicles. Its city car BMW i3 – already selling successfully in all major electric vehicle markets in the world including the US – already has a two year edge over Tesla’s Model 3, unveiled only recently and slotted for a rollout not before the last part of 2017. However, BMW may have just pinned down Tesla in another game altogether: Ride Sharing.
Tesla has hinted that its entire EV product line-up would fit perfectly in a multi-tier ride sharing scheme that Tesla plans to launch in the future. BMW, along with some major other automakers, is in much more of a hurry.
The European automaker has announced launching its car sharing program dubbed ‘ReachNow’ in Seattle, Washington – and is what the company says, just the beginning of the scheme. Over the coming years, BMW has plans to roll out the service more aggressively in at least 10 other major American cities – a move spurred by confidence it gained in the local European market where a similar program garnered interest from more than 600,000 people.
ReachNow allows users to register with the program in only a few minutes by scanning their driving licenses and taking a quick facial snapshot for identity through the program’s mobile application. The service which allows users to use an app to locate a nearby available vehicle, drop it off at a pre-designated spot, will start off by charging users only $0.41 a minute and no registration fee – very much like a “premium AirBnb for cars”, claims the company.
Eventually however, users will be charged $0.49 per minute and a one-time $39 registration fee. Longer commutes will cost $50 for three hours, $80 for 12 hours and $110 for four hours. Not surprisingly though, BMW’s electric i3 is among the 370 vehicles that BMW is using for the program in Seattle, along with the 3-Series sedan and the Mini.
Other automakers like GM, Ford and Daimler are all testing their own ride-sharing services on a limited scale across the country. Tesla, however, is yet to enter the game. Some analysts claim Tesla’s move could be awaiting the rollout of its mass market Model 3 sedan.