DriveNow is a joint venture between BMW and Sixth that provides car-sharing services in several cities in Europe and North America. DriveNow service began in Munich Germany in June 2011. As of November 2014, DriveNow operates over 2,400 vehicles, which serve eight cities worldwide and over 330,000 customers. The company charges a base fee for the first 30 minutes of usage, followed by a per minute rate for every minute afterwards. 

The Good

  • One-time fee
  • Green option
  • Stations
  • No mile limit

To join, you simply need to register online and pay a ONE-TIME fee. This is NOT a monthly fee, like many other companies have you pay to receive access to their services. There is no annual fee, either. Once you are approved, you will receive your DriveNow ID in the mail. Your ID is your key. It contains an RFID sticker that unlocks any available DriveNow BMW. You have one card that has the capability of opening many cars - no worries about having to know where your keys are, just your wallet with your card. Conveniently, the ID card is doubled as the pass for you to get your car charged.

Since DriveNow is focused on being a "green" option for those looking to enlist the help of a car-sharing service, they only offer cars that are environmentally friendly. Options made available for DriveNow customers include the following:

  • All electric basic car
  • All-Electric BMW ActiveE

You can use their own mobile app or website to locate the nearest available DriveNow vehicle or station. Not only are there cars at DriveNow stations, but they have vehicles parked along select streets so you can use your DriveNow ID to unlock a vehicle and be on your way.

There is no limit in terms of maximum number of miles driven on a given day. That means there is not an additional fee for exceeding the number of daily allotted miles. The maximum number of days a customer can rent a DriveNow car varies depending on what location a customer rents from and where they are traveling.

The Bad

  • Availability
  • Additional fees
  • Electric car limitations

DriveNow is not all over. It is available in limited locations. If you are driving through states you cannot drop off the car in a different state, you are going to have to make it back to one of their locations. With such a limited service area, the DriveNow platform just is not available to many people. DriveNow is available in San Francisco, California and internationally in the following cities:

  • London
  • Berlin
  • Cologne
  • DusselDorf
  • Hamburg
  • Munich
  • Vienna

Additionally, there are a number of "extra" fees DriveNow customers will need to take into consideration before using the service. These fees will be charged on top of regular rental/car-sharing rates. These additional costs break down as follows:

  • Registration Fee ($39)
  • Processing of Traffic & Parking Violations ($50/each)
  • DriveNow ID Replacement Fee ($15/card)
  • Special Cleaning ($62.5 - $350)
  • Vehicle Towing (Whatever the full charge is)
  • Processing of Towing Operations ($31.20)

Their cars do not run on gas, but on electricity. One fully charged vehicle can make it just 80-100 miles. There are not nearly as many charging stations as there are gas stations. You could easily be traveling and run out of battery and then you are stuck. While liability insurance is available the deductible is unknown. There is also no information regarding the cancellation fee.

The Bottom Line

DriveNow is offered in only so many locations, but if you are near to those locations this may be an extremely convenient way to have access to transportation. There is no cost per mile, but instead, DriveNow charges per minute (typically $12 for the first minute). Users are then charged another $0.32 for each additional minute they drive. There are a number of service fees that can also be applied. Those that decide to use the DriveNow platform can expect the following from the service:

  1. Only open in a limited service area
  2. Easy to use/register for
  3. Environmentally-friendly cars available
  4. Varying charges based on length of usage
  5. Possible service charges may apply
  6. No gas needed since vehicles operate solely on electricity
  7. No daily allotment of miles which means no overage charges

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