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Rent a BMW From UCDrive — Here’s How It Works

By Dave Jones on December 11, 2018 in University

UC Davis Fleet Services is rolling out eight BMW ie3s, provided by the automaker, for rent to faculty and staff whose use of the all-electric cars will contribute to research by the university’s Institute of Transportation Studies.

Three of the cars are already in service in UCDrive, Fleet Services’ short-term rental program that has vehicles ready and waiting at three locations around the campus, and three more will be in UCDrive by the end of the month. The other two are available for longer rentals from the campus fleet.

In its role of supplying vehicles for university business purposes, Fleet Services offers UCDrive as a convenient, low-cost alternative — charging by the hour instead of by the day, when a rental lasting a couple of hours is all a department may need, and providing an opportunity for departments with their own vehicles to give them up and use UCDrive instead.

With the easy availability of UCDrive vehicles, faculty and staff can leave their own cars at home and use UCDrive for off-campus appointments. UCDrive also saves time and administrative costs by eliminating travel reimbursement paperwork.

Cars in UCDrive are available, self-serve, 24 hours a day, seven days a week — university breaks and holidays included. Rates range from $7 to $9 an hour, plus just under 9 cents ($0.089) per mile, including fuel, insurance, roadside assistance and parking (in exempt spaces on campus). UCDrive also offers the option of ride-sharing with other users.

Interested? First, you’ll need to join UCDrive by filling out and submitting an online form, and then waiting up to 24 hours for your membership to be processed.

Once you’re in, you’ll need to make advance reservations, online, for UCDrive. If you need a car in a hurry, don’t let the word “advance” scare you away. Reservations are processed in real time, so you could go to a UCDrive kiosk, use the FleetShare app on your smartphone to make a reservation, and quickly be on your way.

Fleet Services has 11 vehicles in UCDrive parking places around the campus at this time:

BMW ie3, brown, parked at Facilities Management.
BMW ie3 charged up and ready to go ...
  • Fleet Services-Visitor Parking Lot 49 (off La Rue Road just east of Garrod Drive) — As you enter VP Lot 49, you will see the UCDrive vehicles on the left, on the west side of the dispatch office.
  • Facilities Services (Crocker Lane) The cars are on the north side of the building, which is directly across from the Mathematical Sciences Building and adjacent to the Earth and Physical Sciences Building.
  • Quad Parking Structure (at the campus’s north entry) The cars are on the first floor, near the elevator, southwest corner, closest to the Unitrans bus terminal.

If you rent one of the ie3s, you will not only be driving a sporty, almost new BMW, but also helping the Institute of Transportation Studies in its research on integrating electric vehicles into fleet operations.

BMW provided 10 ie3s to the university altogether; the other two are being used by project researchers. Read the news release to learn more about the research.

Transportation researchers will be conducting education and outreach with campus departments and UCDrive participants to teach them how the cars work. The researchers also will conduct surveys to determine how people’s opinions change about electric vehicles before and after driving one.

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    About the author(s)

    Dave Jones Dave Jones is the editor of Dateline UC Davis. He can be reached at 530-752-6556 or