With its just-introduced BMW on Demand program, the automaker has entered the car sharing industry to compete with heavyweight player Zipcar. Unlike Zipcar, which provides a range of mostly fuel-efficiency models, the BMW on Demand pilot car sharing program offers access to all of the automaker's vehicles, including asphalt terrors like the M3 and M6. Program members sign up for short-term rentals at a price that's estimated to be in the range of $22 to $45 per hour, depending on model and time of day. The BMW pilot project allows rentals via phone, in person or online from the company's event center in Munich, Germany. If the pilot gains traction, BMW will open additional rental sites in other major European cities.
At first glance, BMW's on Demand program might not appear all that green. In fact, it took some back-and-forth bartering before this article graced these pages, but here's why it did: First, BMW has been honored, not once, but five years and counting, by Dow Jones as the most sustainable automobile company in the world. Second, BMW's diesel-powered 1 and 3 Series models are efficient oil-burners that are also a hoot to drive. Let's not forget that BMW also offers several small, efficient diesel models in Germany that are not available stateside. Finally, car sharing allows many customers to forego private ownership of a vehicle and rely upon a service only when a ride is absolutely necessary. This, in theory at least, could eliminate millions of vehicle from the roads.
If you're still undecided about the inclusion of the BMW on Demand program on this site, then perhaps the candid words of Autoblog executive editor, Chris Paukert, who uttered, "it's probably a more efficient setup to get your yayas out for one hour in an M6 than to buy one," will forever change your mind.