The automaker's Car2go will debut in the UK this fall when it starts service in Birmingham, England. Birmingham's city council approved a plan for car2go to supply as many as 250 Smart Fortwo gas-powered two-seaters, which residents can rent within a 30-square-mile radius around the city.
The service is part of Birmingham's effort to improve air quality and cut traffic. No rental rates have been disclosed.
Car2go, which has about 70,000 members throughout North America and Europe, is debuting in Washington, D.C., and Portland, OR later this month. The service, which launched in 2009 in Austin, Texas, also operates in cities such as Chicago, San Diego, Amsterdam, Vienna and Ulm, Germany.
Birmingham, Mar 15, 2012
car2go today announced it won a tender offer from Birmingham City Council to set up an urban mobility scheme. car2go is the world's first mobility program with maximum flexibility and without fixed rental locations. More than 70,000 people are already using the service in Continental Europe, USA and Canada. Birmingham is going to become the first home of car2go in the United Kingdom.
"We are proud to be chosen to build up Birmingham's first fully-flexible carsharing service," said Robert Henrich, CEO of car2go. "Winning this important bid shows, that car2go is ready to quickly expand its service in forward-thinking cities which require an innovative mobility solution complementing their existing transportation infrastructure."
In February 2012, car2go accepted an invitation to bid for the provision of an urban mobility scheme in Birmingham. Thanks to its unique features and many years of global experience in the sector of urban mobility, car2go succeeded in convincing the City of Birmingham to be the right partner for this pilot project.
Starting in autumn 2012, car2go is going to provide its members access to a fleet of up to 250 two-seater smart fortwo "car2go edition" vehicles fitted with an economical petrol engine with start/stop system. The cars are specially developed for carsharing and can be rented spontaneously inside an operating area of around 30 square miles which covers the city centre and several densely populated suburbs.
Customers have complete freedom with regard to when they start their journey and how long they keep the vehicles without a mandatory return location. Unlike traditional carsharing programs or car rental companies, the car2go vehicles will not be parked at fixed stations but can be located at any legal public parking space. car2go is paying a monthly fee to the city which covers on-street parking and selected off-street spots operated by the city.
Experience in other cities has shown that car2go is complementing the already existing means of transportation in a city. It gives Birmingham a further option for city-dwellers, making the overall system of public transport, biking and the car clubs even more attractive.
"Birmingham is committed to developing a wide range of green and public transport initiatives to reduce both traffic congestion and carbon emissions within the city, and then country at large," said Councillor Timothy Huxtable, Cabinet Member for Transport, Environment and Regeneration. "Through these projects we are keen to explore the potential that short term car share schemes may have, alongside improvements to public transport and walking/cycling links, in removing the traditional reliance on bringing cars into the city centre everyday."
car2go is specially made for short trips in urban areas. Customers will only be charged for the actual use of the vehicle, with rental periods as short as a per-minute basis. The rental prices and further details regarding the Birmingham launch will be announced in the near future.