BMW Group and Sixt have launched a flexible car sharing service in London, which charges drivers by the minute and does not require cars to return to a fixed bay.
The DriveNow service is initially being launched across three London boroughs( Islington, Hackney and Haringey), with other boroughs set to launch the service in 2015.
A one-time registration fee of £29 gives DriveNow customers access to a fleet of 210 (up to 300 in 2015) BMW 1 Series and Minis. These will be joined by 30 BMW i3s from spring 2015.
The DriveNow app (available on iOS and Android devices) is used by customers to locate and open their nearest car, or they simply use their customer card to unlock and activate a car they've seen on the street.
Customers only pay for the minutes they drive (at 39p a minute with an hourly cap of £20 to drive a DriveNow car, or from 32p with DriveNow savings packages).
The DriveNow service has been the first in London to negotiate with the boroughs Hackney, Islington and Haringey for its customers to be able to park in any legal on-street parking space, including all residential parking zones.
DriveNow's 'drop anywhere' service makes it possible to use DriveNow even for one-way trips - opening up a whole new range of uses for car-sharing.
The scheme already has more than 360,000 customers globally across seven locations (Berlin, Munich, Dusseldorf, Cologne, Hamburg, Vienna and San Francisco) and BMW hopes to expand it to 15 more cities in Europe and 10 in North America in the future.
Joseph Seal-Driver, UK head of DriveNow, said: “Our goal is that DriveNow's introduction of a location and booking free, drive-by-the-minute, park anywhere service will act as the tipping point in transforming car sharing into a mainstream mobility choice for Londoners.”
Ben Plowden, director of strategy and planning for surface transport at Transport for London (TfL), said: "The Mayor and TfL has long supported the growth of car sharing schemes across London, as they can help encourage more alternative travel choices.
"The arrival of DriveNow into London will help support more sustainable urban mobility while keeping the city moving."
The first 1,000 customers to sign up for DriveNow membership will be able to register for free (saving £29) using the code 'LONDON' on the DriveNow website. They also receive 30 free minutes for using DriveNow.