BMW i Launches ParkNow Mobile Parking Service and Explains Car Sharing service DriveNow

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BMW’s ParkNow is an online mobile parking solution developed in partnership with Urban Mobility.

ParkNow debuts in September and will enable drivers pay for parking in advance, with guaranteed access and clearly defined rates, based on their personal preferences.

ParkNow allows search for parking space either using the mobile app or website then they can pay to reserve for the same. The app also navigates drivers directly to the parking facility, reducing time spent looking for parking, as well as emissions.

BMW is already piloting the service in San Francisco at 14 ParkNow locations close to BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), Muni (San Francisco Municipal Railway) and bike-sharing stations, as well as at San Francisco International Airport, Oakland International Airport and in Palo Alto.

BMW’s ParkNow partner operators include ProPark America, Towne Park, ABM Parking and California Parking are preparing to launch the service in over 100 additional ParkNow locations soon.

Present at the Monday Launch were San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and BMW Group Member of the Board Dr. Ian Roberts.

DriveNow in Detail

BMW also explained their car sharing service DriveNow.

BMW said that DriveNow is a unique premium car-sharing service which features a fleet of BMW ActiveE all-electric vehicles.

Launched in June in San Francisco,  DriveNow is a flexible, premium car-sharing program for its fleet of 70 all-electric vehicles located at eight DriveNow Stations around San Francisco and  two new stations coming in Palo Alto and at the San Francisco International Airport.

BMW said customers can register online or in-person, then locate and book an available car using the DriveNow web site or mobile app. They can then return the car to the same – or any other – DriveNow Station,in case of a one-way trip. The DriveNow Stations are located around the city, close to BART, MUNI and bike-sharing stations.

BMW also partnered with California-based Coulomb Technologies’ ChargePoint network so  drivers can easily locate a nearby charging station. Parking and charging is free at DriveNow Stations.

Innovation for 500,000 Plus Vehicles

According to BMW, San Francisco is the premier U.S. market for the services as is at the forefront of cities working to develop and implement innovative approaches to urban challenges, including traffic congestion and the need for smarter, greener parking systems.

BMW says San Francisco has an estimated 505,000 vehicles with only 448,000 parking spaces available at any given time. However on weekdays, the total vehicle population increases by approximately 35,000 as other populations join in. The firm says as drivers look for parking space they cause around one-third of all downtown traffic.

Dr. Robertson said, “The premium car-sharing service DriveNow and parking solution ParkNow will help meet that demand in San Francisco and, ultimately, in other cities. Our introduction of these services in San Francisco represents BMW’s commitment to encouraging the development of new mobility options that will reduce emissions and congestion and improve the quality of life for San Franciscans.”

Mayor Lee added,”San Francisco is the ‘Innovation Capital of the World’ and the car sharing and EV Capital of America, I am pleased that BMW has chosen San Francisco as the first U.S. site for its innovative services and has launched their program entirely with electric vehicles.”

BMW i Ventures

BMW has been innovative for some time now through its BMW i Ventures.

The firm also has ParkAtMyHouse, an innovative online marketplace designed to connect home and business owners who want to rent out their space to drivers in need of parking space.  Now in use in the UK, Ireland, Canada and the US and with over 150,000 drivers in over 20,000 locations.

BMW i Ventures began with MyCityWay, location-based apps providing information on public transport, parking spaces and entertainment now in San Francisco and across the U.S. and the world. DriveNow CEO is Richard Steinberg while Gary Neff is the CEO of ParkNow.

BMW also launched apps allowing drivers to SMS or email as the drive in partnership with Nuance.

Sam Wakoba

Sam Wakoba travels around the world's technology hubs and events writing about startups, VC’ s and ventures. Spends nights reviewing trending gadgets, ICT initiatives, and disrupting technology.

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