The latest model for car sharing
Vancouver is the chosen city for car2go’s Canadian debut next month
By Bob McHugh, Postmedia News May 5, 2011
More than 200 car2go Smart Cars will make up the initial fleet. — Bob mchugh - for the province
Photograph by: BOB McHUGH
Vancouver is the first Canadian city to get a new innovative car sharing service that’s owned and run by a subsidiary of Daimler, the company best known as the maker of Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
Daimler is also behind the Smart Car, and 225 of the fuel-efficient little urban-runabouts form the starter fleet of car2go.
What’s different about the car2go car-sharing service (Modo and Zipcar already operate in Vancouver), according to Nicholas Cole, President and CEO of car2go Canada, is it operates on a “free floating” model of car sharing. It provides one-way vehicle rentals both on-demand and on an up-to-24-hour advance booking basis.
Members can drive when and wherever they want, then leave the vehicle in either any available “permit only” on-street parking spots (within a defined 47 square-km business area), or in specially marked car2go parking spaces. In essence, every trip is a one-way rental that’s charged on a per-minute, hour or daily basis.
The system allows members to use a vehicle for as long as they like, without committing to a specific return time or a return location.
Designed and manufactured specifically for car sharing, a car2go Smart Car comes with card-activated telematics hardware. It includes an on-board computer with a touch screen, radio and GPS controls. Every car also comes equipped with a 100-watt solar roof panel that supplies power for the telematics system and charges the car battery when the vehicle is stationary. If the car is parked in the sun, solar energy is also used to power its ventilation system to reduce the interior temperature.
“We’re very excited that car2go will be making its Canadian debut in Vancouver,” said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson at a press introduction held at Salt Building in the Olympic Village. “Our goal is to become the greenest city in the world by 2020, and providing cleaner transportation options is a big part of that. We want to ensure that we provide a full range of sustainable transportation options for our citizens, and car2go’s unique car-sharing model is a great fit for Vancouver.”
The newly created car2go Canada Ltd. will be located in Vancouver and the car-sharing vehicle fleet will be operational in June. Until May 29, Vancouver drivers can pre-register for a car2go membership without having to pay a $35 registration fee by visiting www.car2govancouver.com
and using promo code: VAN. Or to register in person, go to the car2go office at 45 Water Street in Gastown. Two dollars from every membership fee will also be donated by car2go to Canuck Place Children’s Hospice over the course of the next 12 months. Canuck Place provides specialized pediatric palliative care for children living with a life-threatening illness and support for their families throughout British Columbia.
The car2go service was first launched in Ulm, Germany, three years ago, and the first North America location chosen was Austin, Texas. To date worldwide it has more than 35,000 members, and the program has processed more than 600,000 fully automated rental transactions.
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