When Daimler launched its Car2Go car sharing program as a pilot project in Austin, Texas six months ago, it was only available to municipal employees and some some selected partner organizations. Daimler has now decided to open up the program to the general public in Austin. Other car sharing systems, like ZipCar, have proven popular, but they all offer an important option that Car2Go does not: vehicle variety.

People participating in Car2Go only have access to the Smart ForTwo. Nonetheless, over 3,000 people, including 1,200 city employees, have signed up for the program. The fully automated program is currently averaging 2,000 rentals per week in the Austin area and Daimler plans to expand it to other cities in North America and Europe. Hopefully, other vehicles will be made available in addition to the Smarts. We'd be happy to take the S400 BlueHybrid out for an afternoon this summer, to name just one example.

[Source: Daimler]

PRESS RELEASE

car2go Mobility Program Opens to Austin Public

After a six month pilot program, car2go today announcedthat its successful mobility program would be made available to the Austin public beginning May 21st.

"Austin has responded to car2go with great interest and enthusiasm, reaffirming our belief that car2go really is an idea worth sharing," said Nicholas Cole, President and CEO of car2go North America. "Our successful partnerships with the City of Austin and other pilot groups have provided car2go the opportunity to further develop our progressive transportation solution. Now the public will have the chance to take advantage of car2go to get around this great city in an environmentally friendly manner."

The public unveiling of car2go follows a very successful pilot program with the City of Austin starting in November 2009. Since the start of the partnership, over 1,200 city employees have registered. In the first six months of the pilot program, a total of more than 3,000 pilot members joined car2go. There were more than 20,500 total rentals, with a current average of 2,000 fully automated rental transactions each week. The pilot program has also given car2go the chance to identify and resolve technical challenges to ensure that the program will run smoothly and efficiently for the Austin public.

car2go's forward-thinking mobility program has already caught national and global attention for its commitment to reducing congestion and the associated carbon footprint in Austin by offering a green alternative to the city's transportation challenges. Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) honored car2go with the agency's prestigious 2010 Clean Air Excellence Award in the category of Transportation Efficiency Innovations for car2go's innovative approach to reducing carbon emissions. Furthermore, car2go was recently honored by Fast Company Magazine, which cited car2go as one of the best ideas in building the perfect city, and named Austin one of Fast Company's Fast Cities for 2010.

While Austin is car2go's North American headquarters, the company plans on expanding the program to other cities in North America and Europe.

"Our public launch here in Austin will not be the end of our learning experience at car2go," Nicholas Cole continued. "Our learning curve here in Austin provides us with the opportunity to build on the foundation that will support bringing car2go to cities across the globe. We look forward to announcing next car2go cities in the coming months."

The public launch of car2go will be celebrated tomorrow by a free event at Republic Square Park on 4th Street and Guadalupe starting at 4:00pm and ending at 10:00pm. Attendees will have the opportunity to take a test drive in a car2go smart fortwo and register to become a member of car2go.

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