Mini is trialling an app in Spain that allows family, friends, in fact anyone you nominate — to borrow your car.
You don’t even need the keys.
With the new MINI Sharing app, Mini owners can grant up to 10 people permission to borrow the car using their smart phone.
The peer-to-peer sharing trial is designed for a fleet of up to 500 vehicles.
Owners of current models from March 2018 onwards will be invited to participate, and their vehicle will be equipped or retrofitted with a sharing module that enables access and engine start via smartphone.
Yes, but what about . . . I hear you ask?
Guest drivers can use the app to make a reservation from their smartphone, with just a few taps — vehicle availability is shown in an inbuilt calendar.
After the owner says yes, the location of the car and walking directions are displayed on their phone.
Upon arrival, the bnorrower’s phone becomes the car key to start the car.
A Bluetooth connection between the smartphone and the car makes it possible to open the vehicle doors and start the engine using start/stop button.
The car’s owner can mark specific users as VIPs which means they can book the car without having to wait for consent.
What happens afterwards?
After the journey, the Mini must be returned to an agreed “area” and locked via smartphone.
The App generates a report for billing, and the guest driver is invited to transfer payment to the owner via PayPal.
The cost is based on a flat rate of 0.30 euros per kilometre.
Insurance cover for each vehicle can be extended easily, with a lump sum for each additional guest driver participating in the trial.
But wait there’s more.
The owner can see the location of their car at any time via the App, that is unless there is a passenger — for privacy reasons.