German luxury carmaker BMW selected a veteran technologist to run its nascent ReachNow car-sharing service in North America.
Steve Banfield has been named chief executive of the Seattle-based company, which is hoping to capitalize on the car-sharing trend popularized by services such as Zipcar. He most recently served as chief marketing officer at Inrix, which provides connected car services; before that, he held senior positions at Sony Pictures Digital, Microsoft and Paramount Pictures.
The ReachNow service is patterned after BMW's European car-sharing service, DriveNow. Drivers can use a mobile app to register to operate one of its fleet of luxury vehicles, which for the moment includes BMW 3 series, the BMW i3 electric vehicle and the Mini Cooper. The service charges 49 cents a minute — with rate caps of, say, $50 for three hours.
Over the last four weeks, some 13,000 Seattle residents registered to use the service, logging enough miles to take nearly four trips around the planet. BMW hopes to expand ReachNow to other cities and enter the ride-hailing business.
“We are extremely pleased that the city and people of Seattle have been so welcoming of ReachNow and are confident that we will continue to thrive — both here and across North America — under the direction of our new leadership team," said Marcus Krieg, head of BMW's car-sharing business unit.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.