Daimler launched its first North American Car2go pilot project in partnership with the city of Austin,TX back in November 2009. In May of this year, the program opened to the public. By September, the number of registered users had soared beyond 10,000 and the amount of total rentals exceeded 80,000. Now, Car2go Austin celebrates its one-year anniversary and is proud to announce that its membership role is almost 15,000 strong and efforts to expand the program further are underway.
Over the next couple of months, Car2go will increase the size of its Austin fleet by 50 percent, bringing the total number of vehicles to 300. In addition, the company will also introduce a new Smart fortwo – the "world's first carsharing production model," the Smart car2go edition – and begin planning for a Spring of 2011 expansion to the Austin operating area.
Nicholas Cole, president and chief executive officer of car2go N.A. LLC, remarked on the success of the program and the significance of celebrating a one-year anniversary, stating:
300,000 miles driven, 100,000 rentals and close to 15,000 registered members clearly shows the success of the program and how the Austin community has adopted this unique concept since its launch a year ago. The numbers have exceeded our expectations and have encouraged other North American cities to look at Austin as a model when it comes to finding alternative solutions in reducing congestion and emissions.
Photos by Sebastian Blanco / Copyright ©2010 AOL
car2go Austin Celebrates First Anniversary with Approximately 15,000 Registered Members and Fleet Extension
AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 17, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, car2go N.A. LLC celebrates its one-year anniversary in Austin, Texas. Daimler started its first North American car2go pilot project in partnership with the City of Austin on November 17, 2009. The program opened to the public in May 2010 and has reached close to 15,000 registered members. In order to keep up with the growing demand, car2go N.A. LLC is planning to expand its operating area and increase its current fleet by 50 percent to a total of 300 vehicles. The company will also introduce the world's first carsharing production model named the smart "car2go edition."
"300,000 miles driven, 100,000 rentals and close to 15,000 registered members clearly shows the success of the program and how the Austin community has adopted this unique concept since its launch a year ago. The numbers have exceeded our expectations and have encouraged other North American cities to look at Austin as a model when it comes to finding alternative solutions in reducing congestion and emissions," said Nicholas Cole, president and CEO of car2go N.A. LLC.
Over the next couple of months, car2go N.A. LLC will be assessing the mobility patterns of the program for expansion of the car2go Austin operating area. The planned expansion of the existing Austin operating area will roll out in Spring 2011.
Early next year, the smart fortwo vehicles used in the car2go program will be replaced by the world's first vehicle specifically designed and manufactured for carsharing. The smart "car2go edition" was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show this past October. The smart "car2go edition" has many features that make it particularly well-suited for carsharing. For instance, this vehicle features new hardware that will make the rental procedure even more convenient, simple and secure. Additionally, the wheel rims and its seats are more robust than those of the car2go predecessor and the radio and navigation system have been upgraded as requested by car2go's members.
"The new technology platform will allow for continuous development of features that will further enhance our members' experience," Cole said. car2go N.A. LLC plans to replace the current network with the new smart "car2go edition" vehicles in the course of spring 2011 and increase the number of vehicles from 200 to a total of 300.
About 80 percent of the new car2go vehicles in Austin will be equipped with another innovative feature: A 100 Watt solar roof which is fully integrated in the on-board electronics and serves to supply power to the telematics and continually charges the car's battery. This allows fuel consumption to be reduced. In addition, if the vehicle is parked in the sun, solar energy is used to power the ventilation system, which reduces the interior temperature. This not only adds to the comfort when a customer gets into the car in hot temperature conditions, but also reduces the burden on the environment, because the air-conditioning system needs to expend considerably less energy to cool the car down, thus reducing fuel consumption.
Because of the astounding success and the high level of participation in Austin, car2go N.A. LLC is set to undergo significant expansion in North America in 2011. North American car2go operations will continue to be headquartered in Austin, Texas.
car2go is a groundbreaking mobility program redefining individual transportation in rapidly growing urban areas. Launched by Daimler, it provides a fleet of free-floating, low-emission, self-service smart fortwo cars for rent distributed all over the city. The smart fortwo is the most fuel efficient non-hybrid vehicle in North America.
Unlike other carsharing programs, car2go is not station-based. A network of vehicles is located throughout the greater downtown Austin area and can be accessed "on-demand" or reserved for up to 24 hours in advance. For "on-demand" access, members simply swipe their membership card against the vehicle's windshield. car2go allows its members to use the vehicle for as long as they like, without committing to a specific return time or location. They can finish the rental in any available public parking space within the car2go business area or at one of the specially marked car2go spaces. car2go charges customers only for the actual use of the vehicle, with rental periods as short as per-minute. Attractive "by-the-minute" rates include costs for fuel, insurance, parking, maintenance and mileage. Further information on car2go is available at www.car2go.com and www.media.daimler.com.