In a number of European cities, BMW already operates under the DriveNow program, which is getting revamped to better suit the US marketplace. Up until December, BMW made DriveNow available to San Francisco customers, but was forced to pull out due to parking space issues that are characteristic to SF. Perhaps Seattle makes things easier for BMW, though parking in any major metro area is sure to present some level of difficulty.
BMW's idea is to offer pay-per-use pricing for driving a BMW 3-Series, BMW i3 electric vehicle or a Mini, which can be picked up from a street corner either by a 30-minute reservation or on-the-go, depending of the user's needs. Flexibility is key, whether you need a car for just a short while or for a longer weekend trip. The Seattle fleet will consist of 370 vehicles distributed across town.
Later on, the service will expand to offer taxi-like ride sharing, to compete with Uber. As the glimmer of car ownership has faded in big cities, BMW wants to make sure it can still put people behind steering wheels or in the back seats. Luxury vehicle ride sharing is also on the cards, seemingly as a way to balance out the decidedly utilitarian choice of cars currently available.