BMW (OTC: BMWY) wants a piece of Uber’s action. The German auto giant is testing a combination ridesharing and car-rental service in Seattle, Brooklyn and Portland, Oregon.
ReachNow consists of 700 BMW and Mini sedans and SUVs that can either be operated by professional drivers; or parked to serve as short-term rentals, CNN Tech reported. Sometimes the service competes with Uber and Lyft by offering rides in chauffer driven cars.
But for most of the time the vehicles are parked at strategic locations all over town. Users reserve and rent vehicles through an app and pick them up. ReachNow currently charges $15 for a trip, 41¢ a mile and $80 a day to rent its vehicles. Cars can be picked up at any time or reserved for longer trips via the App.
Why BMW is in the Car Rental Business
This makes ReachNow a director competitor with the Avis Budget Group’s (NASDAQ: CAR) . Zipcar does not offer rides but it does park cars on the street or at lots that the public can reserve online and rent online. A similar service is offered by Car2Go.
ReachNow is also a direct competitor to car-rental services; such as Hertz Global Holdings (NYSE: HTZ), because it offers rentals of up to five days. Its website was recently offering a $50 car rental for Memorial Day weekend.
The thinking behind ReachNow is to prepare for a world in which a substantial portion of the population does not own a car. This service might show us the future of car rental companies like Hertz, Avis and Enterprise as well as the potential future of automakers, and ridesharing apps.
Auto industry executives such as Elon Musk and former Ford CEO Mark Fields have been speculating about such a service for a while but BMW is the first to act upon it. At least three other automakers are planning such solutions.
General Motors (NYSE: GM) is working on a rideshare service called Maven for example. Ford (NYSE: F) is developing a self-driving vehicle for ridesharing and Alphabet’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Waymo and Fiat Chrysler (NYSE: FCAU) are working on autonomous minivans which would be perfect for rideshare or a short term rental.
If it is successful ReachNow might spell doom for Uber and Lyft; because auto companies have greater resources and better access to vehicles, than ridesharing companies. They also lack accusations of illegal behavior like those which plague Uber.
All-Electric Jaguar Spotted
Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA) has some serious competition. The first all-electric vehicle from Tata Motors (NYSE: TTM) the Jaguar I-Pace has been spotted speeding around the Monaco Grand Prix circuit racecourse.
The I-Pace is a crossover that is supposed to be competitive with the Tesla Model X and have a range of around 220 miles (500 kilometers) on a 90 kilowatt hour battery pack, Electrek reported. This is not the first time the I-Pace has been seen; it was unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November 2016.
A production version of the I-Pace is supposed to be revealed later this year, and production is supposed to begin during the second half of 2018, a Tata press release indicates. The production version is expected to be unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September.