Carsharing market now includes BMW

[youtube] Services like ZipCar and peer-to-peer carsharing companies like Getaround and RelayRides got another vote of confidence this year.  BMW joined the ranks of this emerging market by partnering with German rental car company Sixt to announce the creation of DriveNow, yet another innovative carsharing service. The main differentiating factor of DriveNow will be renters’ ability to pick up and drop off vehicles wherever they need to.  ZipCar requires that the car be returned to the exact spot from whence it left.  Getaround and RelayRides require essentially the same by asking renters to return the vehicle as close as possible to the original spot (this is a practical matter as their rental cars are privately-owned and likely parked near owners’ residences).

The second differentiating factor is that these will be BMW vehicles, equipped with BMW technology to enable keyless entry and tracking of the vehicles (as there will be no rental pods or locations).

BMW board member Ian Robertson sees it as a win-win: BMW gets potential new customers to trial its cars while congested cities (the trial first opens in Berlin and Munich) will see less circling for parking, reduced traffic volumes, and less use of older, less-efficient vehicles.  The service will be more expensive, however, with rentals for $22-$45 per hour.  But, as BMW’s Mini Cooper is ZipCar’s most-requested vehicle, Inhabitat thinks the service will be a success.

- Terra Curtis


Getaround Gets It: $3.4 million in Funding

getaround logoGetaround, the peer-to-peer car-sharing service we profiled here back in May, has achieved another step towards legitimacy: financial backing from several investors including the founders of Netflix, Powerset, and WordPress. According to a recent article on TechCrunch, a technology media company that profiles startups, new internet products, and breaking tech news, initial investor attention was garnered after Getaround was awarded the “hottest next generation startup” at the TechCrunch Disrupt event in New York this year.

But the award wasn’t the only thing: Getaround just seems to make financial sense.  By taking a 40% transaction fee for each rental, Getaround is able to cover roadside assistance, insurance and support.  And, for the individual, top renters are grossing $6,000-$10,000 per year, with the average monthly revenue per car at $340.  For those renting, some cars go for up to $75 per hour (a Tesla Roadster), but can be as cheap as $5-$6 per hour (even for a Nissan Xterra).  The daily rates are comparable to traditional rental cars and without the hassle of getting to a rental car lot and returning the car within their service hours.

This round of funding provides yet another vote of confidence in the peer-to-peer rental market.  Getaround joins RelayRides (a competitor), AirBnb, and HomeAway as peer-to-peer services who have recently received hefty financial backing.

- Terra Curtis