Despite sounding similar, car sharing and ride sharing are two unique concepts. Ride sharing gets you around town in someone else's car, whereas car sharing involves multiple individuals sharing a single vehicle. BMW is dabbling in the latter with its new ReachNow program.
ReachNow kicks off in Seattle, and its goal is to give users the experience of having a car at the ready without spending boatloads of money on a car note. BMW claims its sign-up process takes only two minutes, and after you're approved, you'll have access to 370 vehicles, including BMW's i3 electric vehicle, the BMW 3 Series and the Mini Cooper.
The ReachNow app (for both iOS and Android) acts as your gateway to the service. You can locate and book cars through the app, or you can just find one hanging out on the street. After you're finished with it, just park it in any legal parking space -- you don't even have to pay the parking meter.
Eventually, if all goes according to plan, BMW hopes to extend the program to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, as well as implementing a delivery service that lets users request specific vehicles. Other future plans include a chauffeur service and allowing Mini owners to rent out their personal vehicles.
ReachNow is partnering with RideCell to bring the program to fruition. RideCell is the most recent recipient of funding from BMW i Ventures, the automaker's venture-capital enterprise. Synergy! Yeah!