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Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Regional Sections > Canada > Alberta & British Columbia > SSP: Local Vancouver > Transportation & Infrastructure

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  #1  
Old Posted May 6, 2011, 3:17 AM
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SpongeG SpongeG is offline
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Vancouver is the chosen city for car2go’s Canadian debut next month

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.

...

Read more: http://www.theprovince.com/health/la...#ixzz1LXQyJ2H3
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  #2  
Old Posted May 6, 2011, 3:49 AM
twoNeurons twoNeurons is offline
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Interesting. It's what I always figured Car sharing should be but only possible because of the somewhat recent proliferation of smart phones.

That being said, this service is more expensive than others as they have higher overheads. It will appeal to people who value the ultimate in convenience over planning their outings.

Co-operative Auto (mow modo coop) runs at $3/hour, but the car has to be returned to the place you got it.

If you're going to the beach, for example, from downtown with a bunch of stuff and don't want to lug it on transit, you could use car2go and pay the $5 ($0.35/min) to get there in 15 minutes and you're done. Stay for a couple of hours and pay another $5 to get back home (though the same car may not be available in that location)

Co-operative Auto, you schedule when you pick up the car and for how long you will need it. You have to have it back on time, though. It's $3 / hour and $0.40 / km. Four hours would cost you a bit less than $15.

In those trips, Car2go... in trips with more driving and where you need guaranteed access to the car... Co-Op wins easily.

A trip out to Surrey for 4 hours would cost less than $25 with Co-Op and $50 with Car2go (you can't leave the car in Surrey).

I can see someone being a member of both, to be honest.
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  #3  
Old Posted May 10, 2011, 5:30 AM
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^ I was thinking the same thing (I'm a zipcar member).
The model is very appealing, but compared to existing car sharing services they will need a much higher critical mass to become viable. In your example, getting stuck at the beach because the car you brought there was taken would suck.

I can see that this is modelled after bike sharing schemes (bixi and others, if any of you had a chance to try them they're brilliant), but the physical reality is that a car takes so much more space than a bike so achieving that critical mass might be a problem in Van, especially within this small 47 sq. km.
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  #4  
Old Posted May 10, 2011, 3:59 PM
LotusLand LotusLand is offline
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I think the model is great one. Vancity Buzz took the Car2go for a test drive to show how it works. Great article: http://www.vancitybuzz.com/2011/05/test-drive-car2go/
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  #5  
Old Posted May 10, 2011, 6:22 PM
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Pinion Pinion is offline
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I saw a smart car with that logo driving on Denman about a month ago and immediately looked it up. Glad to see it's launching.

I was a Car Co-op (Modo) member for five years but just bought myself a new Mazda 2. For 3-4 days of small trips per week my bills were $300-400 per month, which of course doesn't make it very economical considering the sacrifices (only one car was near me, a shitty old Ford Focus station wagon with dents all over, and it was frequently fully booked). Now I drive to and from work five days a week plus drive on weekends for just a bit more including insurance and gas.

It's great if you don't drive much and plan your trips well in advance, but I can't believe people would pay even more with Zip Car or this.

The one-way option is great, but I'm not sure I'd actually have used it very often.
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  #6  
Old Posted May 10, 2011, 6:56 PM
Conrad Yablonski Conrad Yablonski is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinion View Post
It's great if you don't drive much and plan your trips well in advance, but I can't believe people would pay even more with Zip Car or this....
Yes I agree-Zip Car is more expensive than an Enterprise rental (for me) so I can't see using this new idea.

Ditto that weird coop-well all coops are weird it's the nature of the beast.
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  #7  
Old Posted May 10, 2011, 7:56 PM
djh djh is offline
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It's an interesting model and I've looked into it. I'm a member of Modo, and could see this being an additional service I could use. But two big things wrong with it:
- Way too expensive. What was it I read, 30 cents per minute? Geez, I can rent a car cheaper than that.
- Too few cars. It's great if you're always really near to a car, at your start AND finish locations, but currently they only have a small number of cars, compared to, say, Modo.

I think both of these problems can be resolved in the long-run, but right now I'm going to wait it out with Modo.
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  #8  
Old Posted May 10, 2011, 10:20 PM
BCPhil BCPhil is offline
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Originally Posted by djh View Post
It's an interesting model and I've looked into it. I'm a member of Modo, and could see this being an additional service I could use. But two big things wrong with it:
- Way too expensive. What was it I read, 30 cents per minute? Geez, I can rent a car cheaper than that.
- Too few cars. It's great if you're always really near to a car, at your start AND finish locations, but currently they only have a small number of cars, compared to, say, Modo.

I think both of these problems can be resolved in the long-run, but right now I'm going to wait it out with Modo.
To be fair, it's $13 an hour or $65 a day, so it's not really 35 cents a minute and more like 21 cents a minute if you take it out for a few hours for a trip to Walmart, Costco or Ikea. Although I think they should have bigger cars, so its actually useful taking to Walmart, Costco or Ikea; these cars are just passenger encased scooters.

But if you are taking one out for a few hours, it does have advantages over renting a car, like you don't have to pay for gas, and can park in residential parking in the West End or Kits, and can just walk away from it whenever you want (as long as it is parked properly).
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  #9  
Old Posted May 10, 2011, 11:25 PM
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(double post)
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Old Posted May 10, 2011, 11:25 PM
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Out of interest, please list some scenarios where you would want a car to take you one way but not the other. The one that I personally would value would be a trip to the airport...only thing is, a Smart Four Two may not be big enough to take my/our luggage.
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  #11  
Old Posted May 10, 2011, 11:48 PM
BCPhil BCPhil is offline
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Out of interest, please list some scenarios where you would want a car to take you one way but not the other. The one that I personally would value would be a trip to the airport...only thing is, a Smart Four Two may not be big enough to take my/our luggage.
Off the top of my head... I take transit to the mall, do some shopping and have a few bags or a big box I don't feel like taking on a crowded bus. Instead I could walk to a parked car and take it home (assuming I live inside the service area). Conversely I could take a car, pick up a few friends, and drive to a pub, then not have to worry about driving it home drunk.

If the service area was large enough and there were enough cars scattered around that service area, then you could replace any walking/taking the bus trip with a 1 way quick car drive.

You could also consider a round trip where you spend several hours at your destination to really be 2 one way trips. If you go to the mall or a park, you don't really need that car for the 3 or 4 hours you are not driving it; it is a waste of your rental fees. By being a true car sharing, you don't have to keep the car reserved while it is properly parked. Yes, someone else could drive it away, but if there were enough cars around, you could just take another one.

That allows more people to use the same number of cars in a day, without them sitting idle, thus lowering the operating costs, and the costs to the consumer.
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  #12  
Old Posted May 10, 2011, 11:55 PM
JRAD JRAD is offline
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I have a little bit of secondhand experience with car2go. My girlfriend lives in Ulm and uses car2go fairly often. Many times she would get a ride or take transit into the city center of Ulm and then track down one of these Smart cars to get back home. She would simply leave it on the street outside of her house and "sign off" from the car, which would then make the car available to anyone else.

When I was visiting her last Summer, we used this service several times. Most of the time, the cars were within a 10 minute walk from anywhere in the city center. However, on one occasion, we had to walk for over an hour before we gave up and called a cab to pick us up. It was a real pain in the ass! She had been in contact with the car2go service over the phone as a representative directed her to the nearest available car. We walked to the location we were told and there was no vehicle to be found.

My experience with this service in Ulm is that it is a nifty idea, but there are many flaws in its design. They need more vehicles and a better method of conveying car location details to customers in need. I'm sure a mobile phone App could help solve this second issue. Then again, this service may work better in a city like Vancouver, which is much larger in population and much more dense.
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  #13  
Old Posted May 11, 2011, 12:18 AM
dreambrother808 dreambrother808 is offline
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I signed up. I like that there's no yearly fee or monthly minimum, that you only pay if and when you want to use it.

Last edited by dreambrother808; May 11, 2011 at 12:37 AM.
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  #14  
Old Posted Jul 12, 2011, 5:38 AM
punface punface is offline
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I highly recommend Car2Go to anyone without a car who lives in the coverage area (or at least central Vancouver.)

I've used it about a dozen times, all trips have been between 5 and 10 minutes (so about $2-$4 with tax.) Some trips are one-way, and some are trips where I am staying at my destination for a few hours but do not need the car the whole time, so I park it outside and hope there is one nearby when I'm done (so far no issues, but I don't expect this to work all the time.)

This map gives an idea of how many cars they have and their current locations (though of course they move around since they can be left almost anywhere when you are done): http://www.car2go.com/portal/vancouv...Enlarged.faces I am pretty impressed with how many cars they have.

Very strangely, there is no official iPhone app, but I bought one called "get2car" for $1 and it works great for finding the nearest car.
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  #15  
Old Posted Mar 2, 2012, 6:27 PM
Homer000 Homer000 is offline
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Hey everyone!

I want to refresh this thread as it has been more than a eight months since the introduction of Car2Go in Vancouver and I want to hear your references and feedback!

Personally I am genuinely please with this service as I can easily cover my everyday commuting with it. The only drawback in my opinion is that the interiors of the vehicles were a little bit more dirty than previously. But am I sure that this is just a temporary glitch

So what's your experience?
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  #16  
Old Posted Mar 2, 2012, 7:30 PM
dreambrother808 dreambrother808 is offline
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I've only used the service a couple times before losing my card and have been rather lazy in replacing it. As for my experience, it was generally positive. It's very easy to find an available car downtown and being able to then leave it anywhere within the operating boundaries is quite convenient. My only issue was with the cars, themselves. I'd never driven a Smart car before and found the ride to be barebones. The acceleration is slow and then randomly lurches forward abruptly in automatic mode. They are quite nice in terms of manouevering around though.
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  #17  
Old Posted Mar 2, 2012, 8:14 PM
djh djh is offline
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I joined too - the posts here were quite helpful in forming my opinion, especially the value in using the car for one-way journeys.

My main issue with it is parking downtown. There need to be more charshare spaces. If I'm travelling downtown and want to drop off the car, I don't want to spend 10 minutes looking for a free space and then realising it's miles from where I'm planning to go.

If the GPS system in the car could highlight all available spaces, that would be fantastic!
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  #18  
Old Posted Mar 2, 2012, 8:25 PM
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mezzanine mezzanine is offline
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i've used it a few times and overall, it's a great service.

The iphone app makes it ++ less frustrating. it is easy to see if there is a car nearby. it also pulls up the sanctioned parking spots, but after a while in the same neighbourhood, you know where they are anyway.

a problem i have encountered is the sanctioned downtown spots being full when you arrive at your destination. you cannot end a rental at a metered spot, so sometimes you have to drive around like a regular car to find a kosher spot. but that's a small price to pay for a unique service.
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  #19  
Old Posted Mar 2, 2012, 8:25 PM
DKaz DKaz is offline
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I agree with the lack of parking spots, and the lurching has more to do with the automated single clutch, such an odd choice of transmission. The best way to lessen the lurch is to take your foot off the gas as if you're driving a manual transmission. You can do this in automatic or manual mode. Other than its dog slow acceleration, these cars have pretty good handling and are fun to sling around. Awful, awful highway speed stability however.

Good service overall, even if it is a bit pricey, being able to pick up at one area and end the reservation at another is very very convenient. There were a few trips where I grabbed a car near my office, ran a few errands, then ended the reservation near a Skytrain station.
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  #20  
Old Posted Mar 2, 2012, 8:38 PM
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My girlfriend and I signed up several months ago and have been fairly happy with the service.

A few things they could improve:
- The service could use it's own iPhone app (I realize there are several 3rd party ones).
- My girlfriend lives near false creek, often when doing online searches for the nearest car it shows one on the opposite side of the water.
- Not sure if they should revise their reservation policy. In theory you could drive to work, sign out and reserve it again for when you finish work, drive home and reserve it for the next morning. I've noticed in a few spots in Yaletown there are often cars in the evening but none of them are available because they are all reserved. I have a feeling people are hogging them.
- The in-car display should tell you how long you've had the car.
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