Berlin. Electric car sharing represents an important pillar of the BMW Group’s efforts to help create a sustainable model for urban mobility, reduce traffic volumes and improve the quality of life in cities. In order to bring this goal within reach through partnership with cities, the BMW Group set up a Centre of Urban Mobility Competence in early 2015. The team of experts brought together under its roof are working with cities and the relevant stakeholders to develop sustainable concepts for future mobility in urban areas. Today’s press conference signals the official start of operations at the BMW Competence Centre.
At the same time, 100 all-electric BMW i3 cars are now available for DriveNow car sharing customers in Berlin, Hamburg and Munich. In London the BMW i3 was already added to the DriveNow fleet in May, and other cities in Germany and Europe will soon follow suit.
DriveNow has added more than 470,000 customers around the world over the last four years, including 430,000 in Germany (120,000 in Berlin). Since 2013, DriveNow has been running 60 all-electric BMW ActiveE cars in Munich and Berlin as part of the WiMobil and ePlan research projects. They have performed outstandingly well in day-to-day use and will now be replaced by 40 BMW i3 cars in Berlin, 30 in Hamburg and 30 in Munich. “Our customers have enjoyed using the BMW ActiveE cars as much as the conventional vehicles in our fleet,” says Nico Gabriel, managing director of DriveNow. “This initiative has enabled us to put around 3,000 people per month behind the wheel of an all-electric vehicle for the first time – and, in so doing, spark their enthusiasm for electric mobility. The introduction of the BMW i3 into our fleet is the logical next step, and will soon be followed by a range of others in Germany, Europe and around the world,” adds Gabriel.
Electric car sharing acts as a catalyst for electric mobility.
Another key element for the BMW Group is the important role electric car sharing has to play in driving forward electric mobility as a whole in Germany. Vehicles involved in electric car sharing schemes boost the use of charging points in cities – and on a more predictable basis. This rapidly makes electric mobility visible and more easily accessible to local people, turning it from a niche activity into an everyday reality. It breaks down barriers and eases the pathway into electric mobility.
eCarsharing is an important component of sustainable urban mobility concepts.
Electric mobility and car sharing represent two important building blocks for the BMW Group when it comes to working with cities to develop revolutionary mobility concepts. As Dr Bernhard Blättel, Vice President Mobility Services at BMW AG, explains: “A significant change has taken place within the BMW Group. In line with our strategic goals, we are setting out to establish ourselves as the leading supplier of premium products and premium services for personal mobility worldwide. We are witnessing the changes our customers and society as a whole are making and we are taking them on board. Our aim is to work towards developing a higher quality of life in cities with ample space for urban living. Set up at the start of this year, the Urban Mobility Competence Centre has since provided us with a team of experts who are working with cities and the associated stakeholders to develop and implement new concepts for future urban mobility. In the BMW Group’s view, it is possible to further improve mobility for people living in urban areas. It is not a contradiction in terms to improve mobility and at the same time ensure cities offer a high quality of life for the people who live there.”
The quality of life in our increasingly densely populated cities can be improved significantly by putting public spaces to different use. One way we can achieve this is by freeing up a large portion of the parking areas currently required. To make this possible, mobility concepts and frameworks need to be in place which can spark people’s enthusiasm for urban mobility beyond their own car. Local public transport continues to provide the backbone of mobility services in urban areas. Complementing local public transport with car sharing schemes and other modes of transport, and creating seamless intermodal connections, allows people to use all the routes through a city. This results in a significant reduction in the volume of cars looking for parking spaces and in the number of parking spaces required, not to mention improvements in air quality and noise emissions.
The recently published main points of the German federal government’s car sharing legislation fundamentally address this approach. The legislation enables cities to offer parking privileges for car sharers over private car users in the public interest. On the assumption that these kinds of incentives apply in equal measure for users of station-based and non-station-based car sharing, cities would be able to make substantial progress when it comes to extending the reach of sustainable mobility.
The same applies to Germany’s electric mobility legislation, which, among other things, gives cities the option of designating parking areas exclusively for electric vehicles. This can also help local authorities meet their aims when it comes to limiting vehicle emissions. Indeed, authorities can combine such an approach with a well-thought-through strategy for sustainable urban development to set the tone and embark on a course towards creating an environment that provides a higher quality of life.
BMW Group is a leading provider of mobility solutions; Urban Mobility Competence Centre paves the way.
The BMW Group has recognised the changing nature of the challenges it faces when it comes to mobility and broadened its corporate strategy accordingly. The company’s strategic roadmap runs up to 2020 and is clearly defined: the BMW Group aims to be the leading supplier of premium products and premium services for personal mobility worldwide. Alongside DriveNow, this involves other services such as ParkNow and ChargeNow. The substantial pressure on parking in central areas of cities around the world gives rise to considerable traffic caused by people looking for parking spaces – and with it unnecessary emissions. For drivers, this is often the most unpleasant part of a journey. ParkNow serves as an integrated platform on which to manage parking using both public areas and private spaces.
The benefits for users are clear. But there are also advantages when it comes to parking space monitoring in cities if parking tickets can be paid for online and the number of ticket machines reduced. Depending on parking demand, it is also possible to use real-time information in cars to manage traffic by showing drivers the likelihood, based on a learning algorithm, of a space being available on a given street. If there are no parking spaces available in a particular area, this allows traffic caused by people looking for spaces there to be avoided from the outset. This idea can be extrapolated to provide another parking management option – i.e. pegging parking prices to current demand.
The intermodal route guidance function integrated into the navigation system of the BMW i3 moves things forward another step. When route guidance is activated, this function shows not only the most efficient route to the desired destination by car, but also an intermodal connection, should this provide the most efficient solution. For example, a switch onto local public transport – using precise timetable data – or a rental bike can be integrated into the route guidance process. The intermodal route guidance function, which will be introduced gradually across all the BMW Group’s vehicles, allows additional traffic to be avoided and the driver to be pointed actively in the direction of alternative local public transport options.
The technical and conceptual solutions we have detailed here are all part of the BMW Group’s constantly expanding portfolio. Working together intelligently, they open the door to new forms of urban traffic management in the years ahead. Our long-term vision is for cities to offer an enhanced quality of life, in which more efficient organisation of mobility solutions helps to create a new environment in which to live. The top priority of the Competence Centre is to safeguard mobility for all users at its current level at the very least. Deprivation or coercion are not an option. Instead, the types of mobility available will be improved and coordinated so effectively that people will adopt them as a logical consequence.