Car sharing ramps up with remote unlocking


Car-sharing is often touted as a way to cut costs and be environmentally friendly, with schemes like Streetcar in London offering an alternative to traditional car rental and car ownership.

And now, the States is leading the way after a scheme called RelayRide announced it would introduce remote unlocking, following a partnership with GM subsidiary Onstar which will provide the in-car technology.

A RelayRides user lists their vehicle information on the website, along with times of availability and an hourly rate. Thanks to Onstar, lenders no longer need to be on hand to hand over the keys – the borrower simply texts a code or uses a smartphone app to gain access to the vehicle.

Peer-to-peer car sharing is already making waves since RelayRides launched, with some states now making amendments to car insurance laws that absolve the lender of any damage caused to the vehicle while it's on loan, said It's a simple concept that can earn generous car owners a bit of cash, and is the pinnacle of convenience for someone who just needs to shift a few boxes or drive their friends to the cinema.

Meanwhile, BMW dealerships in New York are offering extended test drives of sorts. For a basic hourly rate of $35 (about £20), people wanting to try the luxurious 328i sedan model can rent one of about 100 cars for as long as they wish – or choose the overnight deal for $210 (about £130). The weekend deal is also sure to prove very popular – pick up the car on Friday afternoon and return it at 9am on Monday, and the cost will be about £220.

BMW sees the scheme, launching this month, as a "shortcut" to an uptake in BMW purchases from those who just need a little longer than a standard test drive to decide if it's for them.