BMW’s ride sharing program bringing electric vehicles to US citizens

Reading time: 3 minutes
6 May 2016

NEW YORK: BMW is introducing a new electric vehicle (EV) ride sharing program in cities across North America to improve low carbon transport access for citizens and consumers.

Transportation is currently the fastest growing contributor to climate change, accounting for 23% of energy-related CO2 emissions. Innovative transport models, such as public transport, car sharing and electric vehicles are essential to shifting the market to a net zero emissions  future – and reaching the goal of the Paris Agreement to keep global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius.

In April, BMW joined America’s growing car sharing movement with the launch of its new program ReachNow in Seattle, Washington, allowing city residents to travel more efficiently while reducing carbon emissions. By joining the service, members have access to an initial fleet of 370 luxury vehicles, including the electric BMW.i3, the BMW 3 Series and the MINI Cooper.

Through ReachNow, BMW is emerging as a key player in the movement to provide greater access to EVs. The number of global vehicles on the road is projected to double to two billion by 2050 and there are only about 500,000 EVs on the road in the US, so innovative strategies to introduce low carbon transport to new customers are crucial.

With plans to expand to 10 cities, BMW’s program could accelerate EV infrastructure development in the US market and enable many more consumers to make the switch to EVs or ride sharing.

Amy Davidsen, US Executive Director, The Climate Group says: “BMW’s ReachNow not only gives consumers greater choice, but will be a step toward mainstreaming the electric car which is critical to reducing global transportation emissions.”

CLEAN TRANSPORT

Since 2009, The Climate Group has hosted electric transport-related roundtables ranging from fleet electrification to policy initiatives with over 40 major industry participants and partners, including HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and the governments of Quebec, South Australia, New York and North Rhine Westphalia. We have also authored several reports on the topic, including Plugged in Fleets: A Guide to Deploying Electric Vehicles in Fleets in 2012.

As a member of The Climate Group’s RE100 program, BMW is also making great strides toward its goal to procure 100% renewable energy to power its own operations, with an interim target to source more than two thirds of its energy from renewables by 2020.

For Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, BMW’s program represent an innovative way to bring EVs to the city. “BMW’s car sharing service also complements our strategy to promote the use of electric vehicles across the city. As we grow our transit networks, we look forward to expanding car sharing as another great option to get around Seattle.”

ChargePoint, the largest EV charging network, recently ranked Seattle as the third most electric-vehicle friendly city in the US, highlighting how sub-national governments such as cities, states and regions have greater flexibility to promote EVs and incentivizing the switch to low carbon transport.

GLOBAL EV GROWTH

In the US, while California is home to almost half the nation’s EVs, states like Washington, New York, Connecticut, and Vermont – all members of The Climate Group’s States & Regions Alliance – are also prioritizing their growth. California has adopted a “ZEV mandate” requiring car manufacturers to make 15% of the vehicles they produce "zero emission vehicles" by 2025, and nine additional US states have followed their lead.

But outside of the US demand for EVs is expanding too, as companies and governments introduce the technology to new markets. For example the Government of Quebec, another States & Regions Alliance member, provides financial support to purchase EVs and install charging stations in homes and businesses, which has allowed it to become Canada’s largest EV market. The government has quadrupled the number of EVs on the road in two years, with plans to reach 100,000 in the province by 2020.

In China, electric vehicle company Beijing EV – which recently joined The Climate Group’s new energy productivity campaign EP100 – is leading the way in bringing EVs and energy efficient business practices to the country’s fast-growing transport market.

by Rachel Harrington-Abrams

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