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PHOTO CAPTION: BMW i3 is now available as part of DriveNow carshare system in London.

BMW i3 Joins DriveNow Carshare Fleets

Electric cars have been part of carshare programs for at least half a decade from Autolib in Paris to Car2Go in San Diego. Now BMW adds the i3 to its DriveNow program in Europe.

Published: 20-May-2015

In Paris you can join Autolib and have the use of the Bollare Bluecar electric car. In San Diego, similarly, you can use Daimler's electric smart car as part of their Car2Go system. With a swipe of a smart card, you can open the car and drive it anywhere you wish within a definite range around the community, dropping it off either at another Autolib charging station or in the case of the smart car, wherever you can find a parking spot.

It's an idea whose time as come, especially for big city residents where private car ownership is extraordinarily expensive and other options from public transit to bikeshare systems.

BMW launched their own carshare system in Munich in 2011, following with other German cities and spreading to the USA, Austria and the United Kingdom. Most of these systems utilize both gasoline and diesel-powered models, with the exception of San Francisco and now London, where the company has added 30 i3 electric cars to the 240 BMW and Mini models currently available. The purported objective is to offer an cost effective alternative to London's Black Cabs and services like Uber. Locations, availabiilty and pricing are available on the on the DriveNow UK website.

Because the i3 is electric it is exempt from London's congestion charge for driving in the central part of the city. BMW says it plans to add DriveNow programs to an additional 20 global cities in 2015.

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