Freeing up parking lots
THE biggest problem traditional businesses have with the Facebook generation is how they want to share everything — even their cars.
All the research point to a near future where young buyers just roll their eyes at the idea of sitting in cars in peak hour traffic, or worse, owning a car that just sits there 23 out of 24 hours, costing money at home and in the parking lot.
Yet they will all need to get to work somehow.
All the big car brands, as well as a few small ones, are far advanced in research about supplying the needs of the next transport users.
BMW’s focus is on electric cars, not hydrogen as is the case with Toyota, Honda and Hyundai, (see page 6) and they plan to free up parking areas by having their cars work all day, instead of just standing there.
The company has been getting the public used to electric cars for four years through its DriveNow programme. The group already has more than 470 000 customers around the world since 2011, including 430 000 in Germany as part of its DriveNow car sharing scheme, using 60 all-electric BMW ActiveE cars in Munich and Berlin.
Earlier this year, they took the next step by setting up a Centre of Urban Mobility Competence. There experts aim to help create a sustainable model for urban mobility, reduce traffic volumes and improve the quality of life in cities. The centre has now added 100 all-electric BMW i3 electric cars to the DriveNow programme in Berlin, Hamburg and Munich.
In London the BMW i3 was already added to the DriveNow fleet in May, and other cities in Germany and Europe will soon follow suit as part of the WiMobil and ePlan research projects.
“Our customers have enjoyed using the BMW ActiveE cars as much as the conventional vehicles in our fleet,” says Nico Gabriel, managing director of DriveNow. He said electric mobility and car sharing represent two important building blocks for the BMW Group when it comes to working with cities to develop revolutionary mobility concepts.
“The quality of life in our increasingly densely populated cities can be improved significantly by putting public spaces to different use. One way we can achieve this is by freeing up a large portion of the parking areas currently required. To make this possible, mobility concepts and frameworks need to be in place which can spark people’s enthusiasm for urban mobility beyond their own car …” Gabriel said in a statement.
One of 70 electric BMW ActiveE sedans that was put into BMW’s DriveNow car-sharing service in San Franciscoin 2012.