Seattle has been blessed with another option to move around the city with thanks to BMW.
The famous German car manufacturer officially launched its car sharing service, ReachNow, in Seattle on Friday afternoon. The news pushed its free-floating car share service to not be a competition for Car2 Go but rather a separate ‘premium’ mobility service.
Peter Schwarzenbauer, a board member of the BMW Group, announced that “With ReachNow, we are moving car-sharing to the next level.” The board member was speaking at the press event held so as to reveal the service. The Deputy Mayor of Seattle was also present at the event.
The news doesn’t come as surprising, because since February BMW managed to secure 63 car share permits, and BMW i3s bearing the ReachNow logo were spotted downtown since late February.
An estimated 370 cars in Seattle are expected to start the venture, with 70 of them electric BMW i3s, 120 BMW 328xi sedans and about 180 MINI Coopers. This, however, is low compared to Car2Go, the other player on the market which has around 750 cars.
BMW plans to expand, and this might be both in the areas served and the number of cars that are made available by the company. The company is also planning to go into three other cities by the end of the year. The goal for them is to eventually serve about 10 North American cities.
Seattle requires its car sharing services to reach the entire city within two years of opening and it seems like a small task for the car manufacturer because they indicated to the city that they planned to expand as quickly as possible.
The ReachNow service is available through a downloadable app, they have to sign up and then they can start driving. Costs are slightly higher than Car2Go starting at lifetime membership fee of $39, at $0.49 per minute. Members, however, pay low rates if they stop midway during their trip.
Car2Go launched in 2012 in Seattle, and they have spent most of their time trying to make sure the whole city is covered, so to them, BMW might be playing catch up.