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BMW Brings Luxury Electric Vehicle Sharing To The U.S.

Want to drive a fancy electric vehicle every day without actually leasing or buying one? Now you can–if you live in San Francisco. BMW announced this week the official launch of DriveNow, a carsharing service featuring 70 ActiveE electric vehicles scattered around the city at designated parking spots. The service has been in operation for about a month, but BMW hopes that this week’s second announcement–the launch of ParkNow, a service to help drivers find and secure open parking spots–will make it even more attractive.

The DriveNow service operates much like Zipcar, with a few differences. As with the popular carsharing service, DriveNow members pay a membership fee ($39) and a time-based fee each time a car is taken out ($12 for the first 30 minutes, 32 cents for each minute after). Both services also feature keyless entry, relying on RFID-equipped cards instead. But DriveNow has some distinct advantages: The cars don’t have to be returned to their original location–they can be taken to any designated DriveNow parking spot. And since every one of those spots is equipped with an EV charger, the vehicles always have their full 80 to 100 mile range whenever a user takes them out.
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