Today, BMW Group’s Mini brand launched its Mini Sharing service pilot in the hub of Johannesburg: Sandton. Located at Black Brick, a community-focused living space, Mini Sharing will make five Mini Cooper SE electric vehicles available for use around the city. This means anyone in need of a vehicle for a day, can download the Mini Sharing app (available on Android and iOS) and book some time with South Africa’s cutest EV.
In 2020, we spent some time with the Cooper SE, and it came down to this:
There aren’t many things in this world that can bring a human such joy. A small, nippy, responsive electric vehicle that is exactly what South Africans need. The short range may be an issue come December holiday, but from R642,000 you get a whole lot of character.
Share a Mini
This new service launched at BlackBrick, a newly established ‘aparthotel’ that is home to short-term and long-term tenants. As part of living there, lengths of stay out of the question, you gain access to a whole lot of facilities and services. This makes it a community-driven space in the middle of Sandton. Mini believes that this should include the option to ‘rent’ a car.
Thing is, if you’re based in the midst of all the comforts available to any city-dweller, you won’t necessarily need to own a car. But if you decide to explore outside of your walking radius, a car will come in handy. Even better if it’s the wonderfully nippy and eco-friendly Cooper SE.
Through the app, you’ll have the ability to book one of the allocated cars, all of which are housed in the BlackBrick parking area, and use it at your leisure. Costs are set on both a per-hour and per-kilometer basis: you’ll spend R36 per hour and R6 per km of use. The parking lot is fitted with sharing bays, installed by BMW South Africa, which tops up the fleet free of charge.
One of the standout features of the full service is that the app will turn your phone into a digital key for the specific car you’ve booked. This eliminates any need to exchange keys and deal with actual humans. Once a car has been allocated, a key-pack is downloaded to the phone using mobile data or WiFi, after which the phone will use a Bluetooth connection to lock, unlock and start the car.
Considering this is only a pilot to gauge interest in a feature like this, there isn’t confirmation of more sites at this moment. Mini South Africa has said that it will update us if the service is expanded to other venues and other parts of the country.