BMW has chosen the city of San Francisco to launch its new DriveNow car sharing program, alongside their ParkNow mobile parking solution. San Francisco 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. The DriveNow car-sharing program gives drivers access to BMW’s ActiveE electric car, while the ParkNow mobile app makes it easier for drivers to find parking spots in the city.

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Anyone that has ever driven in San Francisco and tried to find parking knows that it can be quite a challenge. There are an estimated 505,000 vehicles in San Francisco, yet only 448,000 parking spaces available at any given time. On weekdays, the total vehicle population increases by approximately 35,000. An estimated one-third of all downtown traffic on weekdays is due to vehicles searching for a parking spot. Drivers can search for parking using ParkNow’s mobile app or website, reserve, pay and then be navigated directly to the parking facility, reducing time spent looking for parking, as well as emissions. There are currently 14 ParkNow locations in and around San Francisco piloting the system, but over 100 locations will be launched in the coming weeks.

DriveNow originally launched in June and is a flexible, premium car-sharing program offering the opportunity to drive BMW’s first all-electric vehicle, the BMW ActiveE, which is based on the 1 Series coupe. The fleet of 70 ActiveE vehicles is located at eight DriveNow Stations around San Francisco, with two additional stations in Palo Alto and at the San Francisco International Airport coming soon. Users can 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, allowing for convenient one-way trips. Through a partnership with California-based Coulomb Technologies’ ChargePoint network drivers can easily also locate a nearby charging station if they need to top-off during the course of their rental, which has no time limit.

“The BMW Group is more than a premium car company, it is also focused on developing and delivering new services to help meet the increasing need for flexible mobility solutions in our cities,” said BMW Group Member of the Board Dr. Ian Robertson. San Francisco is serving as the launch city for both programs, but it is expected to be available in other cities in the future.