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BMW launches ReachNow car-sharing service in Seattle

BMW launches ReachNow car-sharing service in Seattle

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BMW has launched a new car-sharing service in Seattle called ReachNow that uses a fleet of BMW 3 Series sedans, i3s, and Mini Coopers. It's a little like Daimler's Car2Go — which is available in Austin, New York City, and a handful of other North American Cities and uses a fleet of Smart cars — in that the service is priced by the minute and cars can be taken one way as long as they're left within a defined "home area."

The service isn't particularly cheap by the hour, but if you just need a car for a quick jaunt, the per-minute pricing helps. All cars in the ReachNow fleet have a "promotional" rate of 41 cents per minute while driving (normally 49 cents) and 30 cents per minute while parked. On longer trips, pricing is capped at $50 for 3 hours, $80 for 12 hours, and $110 for 24 hours.

Though the service is launching first in Seattle with a fleet of 370 cars, it'll eventually be coming to 10 US cities. This isn't BMW's first shot at car sharing: it has run several programs in European markets, and briefly launched a pilot version of ReachNow simply called BMW Car Sharing in San Francisco; that trial shut down last year. Car sharing is seen as a boon for many automakers as urban dwellers move away from car ownership; Ford and GM have both recently launched services, and more are expected from others in the coming years. Zipcar, the Avis-owned stalwart of the car sharing industry, recently launched per-minute and one-way service in Boston and Los Angeles with more cities to come.