Mini South Africa has announced it will launch a new peer-to-peer car sharing programme locally later in 2020.

The BMW-backed firm’s local arm released a statement confirming the new car-sharing scheme – dubbed Mini Sharing – is being “tested for local conditions ahead of its launch in the third quarter of 2020 as a pilot programme in the key urban area Sandton, in Johannesburg”.

Mini says the programme will “initially” be available only to a closed group of users, although “plans are afoot to expand the offering to other quintessentially urban locations within South Africa”.

While local details are thin, we do know the Mini Sharing application used in other parts of the world allows vehicle owners to grant permission to up to ten people of their choosing to open and start their vehicle via a smartphone.

In the Spanish capital of Madrid, for instance, owners of models produced since March 2018 were invited to participate in the project, with their vehicles either equipped as standard or retrofitted with a Mini Sharing module enabling access and engine start via smartphone.

A given vehicle’s availability is highlighted in the app's built-in calendar, with guest drivers able to make a reservation request from their smartphone. After the owner has granted their consent, the location of the vehicle and pedestrian directions are displayed on their phone. Upon arrival at the vehicle, the Bluetooth-enabled smartphone on which the app is installed becomes the car key.