Why renting and car-sharing could soon be the new two-in-one offer

How do you attract millennials to rent high-end apartments in New York City? The new Solaire development constructed in Lower Manhatten is trying a novel new method, offering a fleet of BMWs, including four of the manufacturer’s latest electric vehicle – the i3 – as part of the deal.

The access to a car-sharing service, which is a tailored version of BMW’s ReachNow, a Zip-car like subsidiary of the mobility giant, is complementary, and offered alongside more typical services like a gym and 24-hour concierge. Launched in December, the service is designed to tap into current appetites for a different kind of city travel, which has led to the dramatic growth of ride-share apps like Uber and Lyft, as well as numerous car-sharing services.

Owning a car, which represents a significant expense, and often isn’t all that convenient for city dwellers, is less appealing for new generations entering the marketplace, who have demonstrated through their behaviour that purchasing mobility on-demand is preferable.


The combination of apartment renting and car-sharing is relatively unique for Solaire’s buildings at the moment, but it could represent a new model that combines renting living space with renting mobility, simultaneously widening access to cars, while reducing parking pressures.

Expanding car-sharing services in cities will require the unlocking of places to park the vehicles, and this transition could be of benefit to companies like BMW, who may not need to focus exclusively on competing for public parking slots.

More generally, holistic and joined up solutions appear to be the way forward for the world’s largest cities. Optimising individual elements can only go so far and if cities are to meet the demands created by growing populations, a joining up of thinking around the entire city experience will be necessary. Trials like the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s “AMIE“, which integrates solar energy production with a 3D-printed model home and electric vehicle, are probably one part of the picture, but combining access that replaces ownership of various services could also represent a modern model that helps to make the economics of the system work.

Cost is of course an important consideration, and it’s worth noting that these developments are currently focused on high-end rental spaces. Unlocking the real impact, both in terms of the economics and wider societal benefits, will depend on finding an affordable offering as well.

Source: These new apartments come with a shared car

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Seb Egerton-Read

Seb Egerton-Read

Seb writes daily content for Circulate across the full spectrum of the website's topics. Previously he has spent five years as a freelance writer for a number of websites and blogs. You can e-mail Seb at seb[at]

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