• Apr 2nd 2009 at 8:28AM
  • 12
Last October we advised you not to hold your breath for Daimler's Car2Go program to come to America. You can breathe again. If you live in Austin, Texas you'll be able to rent a mild hybrid Smart ForTwo by the minute this fall. Austin was chosen because of its university population and its concern for the environment.

Car2Go makes its fleet available on-demand, with a clear price structure, and you can keep the car as long as you wish. Those in the program access the vehicles by swiping a tag on their driver's licenses over a card reader on the car. As with the pilot program in Ulm, Germany the service will start in Austin with an initial fleet, expected to consist of around 200 Smarts that will be available to city employees first and then expand to public use at the conclusion of a trial period.

[Source: Canadian Driver]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Why rent a car by the minute? You can get a car that holds four people and all your luggage/shopping for around $10 a day.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I live in Ulm, Germany, where the car2go project just when public after a trial period where it was only available for Daimler-employees.

      The way it works is there are about 200 Smarts distributed across town (Ulm isn't so big at ~150.000 inhabitants) and if you need one and come across one and it has a green LED winking at you from the windshield, you swipe your chip across it and can use it for however long you like and you can drive it as far as you like with the only two limitations that you need to be inside the Ulm city-limits in order to give up the car again and you are allowed to drive a maximum of 2000 kilometers per month. Kilometers are otherwise unlimited and the rental-price of 19 cents/minute already includes the gas (allright, diesel in this case) and the insurance. Maximum amount per hour is 10 EUR, a day costs 49 EUR.

      The main point is that you have to compare this with other prices for local transportation. I.e. if your trip is shorter than 9 minutes, this is cheaper than a bus-ticket. Or, for an hour, it is _massively_ cheaper than a taxi. As the "for a day"-rate of 49 EUR: the cheapest rental-car you can currently get is a Fiat Panda for 29 EUR/day, but there you have to return the car with a filled tank, so a) depending on how far your trip might be, the car2go could be cheaper, and b) the regular rental car of course has to be picked up at the rental car agency and returned there, whereas the car2go can be dropped off anywhere you like.

      So far, I've used it twice, namely to get home after leaving my own car at the dealer for the regular service, and then on the next day to get to the car-dealership again. For things like that, where the car-dealership is in an area with bad bus-coverage, the car2go definitely beats the taxi. Fine by me.

      Apart from that I now know that I would never buy a Smart for myself. The diesel is noisy and tractor-like and the automatic gearbox is _very_ sluggish (much more so than the one I have in my own Honda).

      So that's what I can tell you from the perspective of somebody who actually uses the service ..

      ah yes, there is a website with google-maps-like interface on which you can find cars that are currently unoccupied and can also reserve them for 15 minutes in order to lock it while you walk to it ..
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is a good thing for a few other reasons. One is all the people moving downtown to the new highrises and two it will make double the use of limited parking. One of my coworkers has signed up for this so I'm interested in riding along with him.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yup, just like all the programs before this one.
      • 6 Years Ago
      What? You've never seen anyone riding a Longhorn to work in Austin? I live here and the parkign lot at work is chocked full of Longhorns waiting patiently outside for their owners to finish work and ride them home. Looks like a livestock show out there!

      Some of the local morning radio jocks were deriding this program the other morning. I'm with them... it's a stupid idea, but the local treehuggers (including the modernday hippie mayor) are all for it, regardless of how dumb the idea is. This town is crazy with "greenies" and their passionate love for anything that even remotely sounds "green", even if those ideas have no foundation in common sense.
      • 6 Years Ago
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