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Drivers will be able to use smartphones to borrow BMWs in London in pay-as-you-go scheme

Margi Murphy | Dec. 3, 2014
BMW and rental company SixT bringing car rental member's club to London boroughs like Hackney and Islington.

BMW is launching a scheme that allows drivers to borrow cars parked across London by unlocking them through their smartphones.

The car-sharing club, called DriveNow, will be announced on Thursday, the Financial Times has reported.

The launch in the capital follows the success of the carmaker's car-sharing division in Berlin, Vienna and San Francisco.

DriveNow customers pay a fee to drive models including the Mini and the electric i3 on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Members simply unlock cars, which will be found in parking spaces across London boroughs including Hackney and Islington, according to City A.M, using a bank card or smartphone app.

DriveNow, a partnership between the German carmaker and rental firm Sixt was created in 2011. While BMW supplies the cars, Sixt takes responsibility for the IT infrastructure which covers telematics to its online portal.

BMW has not yet revealed details about the IT or technology behind the car unlocking application.

Carmaker competitor Daimler, who manufactures Mercedes Benz cars, had to close its car renting business this year due to the lack of parking spaces in London, which hampered the even distribution of cars in demand.

Car-sharing firm City Car Club, which claims to be the largest UK car-sharing firm with 29,000 members, launched an iPhone unlocking app for its customers in November.

Remote locking software has come under scrutiny after it emerged that insurers were reluctant to underwrite high-tech cars due to a spate in thefts.


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