BMW’s ReachNow car-sharing service expands service area and adds more vehicles in Seattle – GeekWire

Posted: Tuesday, June 28, 2016
ReachNow added 150 MINI Cooper Countryman vehicles in Seattle. Photo via BMW.
ReachNow added 150 MINI Cooper Clubman vehicles in Seattle. Photo via BMW.

BMW’s car-sharing service continues to grow in Seattle. The car-maker announced today that ReachNow is both expanding to additional neighborhoods and adding an extra 150 vehicles to its fleet.

This past April, BMW debuted the free-floating car-sharing program in Seattle and quickly saw traction, racking up more than 13,000 members in the first month. At launch, BMW placed 370 free-floating vehicles — a mix of BMW 328xi Series sedans, MINI Coopers, and the all-electric BMW i3 — around town, allowing people to get around from Point A to Point B within a “Home Area” that encompasses much of Seattle proper.

bmwreachnow11Starting today, the service now includes neighborhoods like Southeast Seattle, West Seattle and Magnolia. There are also 150 additional 4-door MINI Clubman vehicles now on the streets.

BMW didn’t release any updated stats on the number of users or total rides taken. But the company did tell GeekWire that members have collectively driven 288,000 miles since its service debuted.

ReachNow launched April 8 — 80 days ago from today, June 28. That’s 3,600 miles per day, on average. If the median trip length is, say, 15 miles, that’s about 240 trips per day.

Car2go, which is BMW’s direct competitor in Seattle, said that its members take more than 3,600 trips in Seattle per day, and have driven more than 1.1 million miles in the past three months.

ReachNow CEO Steve Banfield, previously an executive at INRIX who joined BMW this past May, said that the neighborhood expansion happened “earlier than anticipated.” The service now includes “neighborhoods where more than 75 percent of Seattleites live,” BMW noted.

“This rapid increase in the size of our fleet and expansion of our Home Area is a true testament to Seattleites’ willingness to embrace new technologies and services as they travel to and through the city,” Banfield said in a statement. “The community has shown us they’re hungry for mobility options, and, as a result, we’re expanding our services earlier than anticipated, to Southeast Seattle, West Seattle and Magnolia.”

ReachNow’s coverage map now looks more similar to Car2go, which has 78,000 members using 750 vehicles spread across Seattle, where it began operating in 2013. Car2go expanded its service area to all of Seattle in March 2015.

BMW launched ReachNow in Seattle after the City Council approved an expansion of three additional free-floating car-sharing programs in January 2015, in addition to Car2go. Car-sharing companies can receive 500 permits to start, and up to 750 if they agree to provide service across the city.

Banfield told GeekWire last month that the vision for BMW is much more than just the free-floating car-sharing program. There are plans to launch a number of other services, including a concierge option where BMW brings you a vehicle, instead of you having to find one yourself; an Uber and Lyft competitor that will allow people to earn revenue by driving other users around in ReachNow cars; a way for people to drop off ReachNow vehicles at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport before boarding a flight, or to pick one up after they get off the plane; or a way for BMW owners to lease their own cars within the ReachNow network.

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