A startrescue.co.uk story...

BMW has embarked on a joint venture with rental company Sixt that may revolutionise the way urban Britons drive.

The two firms have introduced a rental/car-sharing model called DriveNow to the UK from Germany, which allows members to locate and use certain rental cars on the street – in a similar way to the London"Boris bike". Cars can be located and unlocked using a special smartphone app.

Once a motorist has unlocked a chosen car, they are charged by the minute for driving the vehicle – until they reach their destination, whereupon they can simply park up and go about their business; the car can then be rented by any other DriveNow member that wishes to do so.

There is no need to return the car to a rental outlet, as with a regular rental car.

The scheme is to be tested with around 250 BMW 1 series and Mini cars in the London boroughs of Islington, Hackney and Haringey whose councils have signed up to the system. Cars must be dropped off within the three boroughs.

According to BMW, if the system becomes popular, it could mean more efficient use of cars – and effectively far fewer vehicles on the road.

According to DriveNow, the average car is only used about 4 per cent of the time. With pressure on parking and increasing urban populations, many city dwellers are seeking a more efficient alternative to car ownership.

Does DriveNow appeal to you?

Many of our breakdown insurance cover customers will be aware of concepts such as DriveNow. But do such schemes present a viable alternative to full ownership? Or will most people still prefer the prestige and pleasure of owning their own car? Please tell us your thoughts below.