With San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, BMW Group Member of the Board Dr. Ian Robertson announced Monday the upcoming launch of ParkNow, a mobile parking solution that is a joint venture with Urban Mobility.
The company also provided new details about DriveNow, a premium car-sharing service which features a fleet of BMW ActiveE all-electric vehicles. San Francisco serves as the initial U.S. market for each service.
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.
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.
“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 Dr. Robertson.
“San Francisco is the ‘Innovation Capital of the World’ and the car sharing and EV Capital of America,” said Mayor Lee. “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.”
ParkNow, which will be available to drivers beginning in September, is an online mobile parking service that enables users to pay for parking in advance, with guaranteed access and clearly defined rates, based on their personal preferences.
Customers 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. Stations are located around the city, 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.
Four ParkNow partner operators, ProPark America, Towne Park, ABM Parking and California Parking, will launch over 100 additional ParkNow locations in the coming weeks.
DriveNow which launched in June in San Francisco is a flexible, premium car-sharing program offering the opportunity to drive BMW’s first all-electric vehicle, the BMW ActiveE with zero emission driving.
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.
After registering online or in-person, customers 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, if desired.
Stations are located around the city, close to BART, MUNI and bike-sharing stations. Through a partnership with California-based Coulomb Technologies’ ChargePoint network, a network of independently owned electric vehicle charging stations, drivers can locate a nearby charging station if they need to top-off during the course of their rental, which has no time limit. Parking and charging is free at DriveNow Stations.
All of these initiatives are part of BMW i, a BMW brand focused on developing sustainable premium mobility solutions. Richard Steinberg is the CEO of DriveNow. Gary Neff is the CEO of ParkNow.