Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler has finally decided to go to its proverbial mothership to further expand its Car2go carsharing service in Europe. The German automaker has long used its itty-bitty Smart Fortwo vehicles for the program, but now it's kicking off a pilot program called Car2go Black that will share Mercedes-Benz B-Class models in Berlin and Hamburg.

Daimler will deploy 100 B-Class diesels in each German city. The company says the cars will be parked at so-called "black" parking spots and won't have to be returned to the same spot when the user is done. Daimler, who says the reservation platform is geared for smartphone use, is planning to expand the program to other European cities with existing Car2go service starting this spring. That's important, since once the system is up an running, you will be able to drive a Car2go Black vehicle from one town in the network to another and not need to bring it back.

Car2go first started operations in Ulm, Germany, and made its North American debut in Austin, TX, in 2009. The service now has more than 600,000 members worldwide with access to about 10,000 Fortwos in 25 cities throughout Europe and North America. Car2go chief marketing officer J. Paul DeLong said last month that Car2go is the world's largest global carsharing company. You can check out Daimler's Car2go Black press release below.
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car2go black: Carsharing with the three-pointed star

STUTTGART, Germany, Feb. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --

Daimler Mobility Services offers carsharing with Mercedes-Benz vehicles for the first time
Pilot Phase with 200 B-Class vehicles starts in mid- February in Hamburg and Berlin
One-way trips and open-ended trips available, within and even between different cities
Smartphone-based rental procedure makes usage both easy and flexible

Daimler Mobility Services will soon be offering carsharing with the three-pointed star. Under the "car2go black" brand, Daimler Mobility Services GmbH will pilot a fully automated carsharing system with Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The pilot phase will begin in mid-February in Hamburg and Berlin. In the initial pilot phase, select car2go members in those locations can use a network of 200 black B-Class models on short notice. The vehicles can be rented at dedicated reserved parking stations, and do not have to be returned to the same dedicated parking station that the vehicle rental originated from. A reservation is not required and the vehicles can be used for an unlimited period of time without having to commit to a return time, giving the member maximum flexibility.

"With car2go we have revolutionized urban mobility. With car2go black we are now offering carsharing with Mercedes-Benz vehicles. We will thus be addressing a wider range of customers and enabling long-distance travel," said Robert Henrich, Head of Daimler Mobility Services GmbH.

The smartphone is the key to mobility
car2go black is a smartphone-based innovative carsharing service. Using the car2go black app, the member can easily locate a vehicle at one of any dedicated car2go black parking stations throughout the city. Members can reserve a vehicle 30 minutes in advance or spontaneously access a vehicle without making a planned reservation. When members pick up a vehicle, they simply enter their car2go PIN code and vehicle PIN code displayed at the vehicle into the app. At the end of the trip, the vehicle must be returned to one of the dedicated car2go black parking stations – including those in another city where car2go black is available. The trip will be completed using the car2go black app, making the process convenient and easy. There will be no return time required during the trip. In Europe, the car2go black network will be based solely on the Mercedes-Benz B-Class. This will be a diesel vehicle with 7G-Tronic automatic transmission, navigation system, air conditioning and heated leather seats. car2go black will complement the current pioneering 1-way carsharing service car2go in the near future.

Pilot phase in Berlin and Hamburg
The pilot phase will initially start in Berlin and Hamburg. At first, 100 Mercedes-Benz B-Class vehicles will be available to select car2go members in each city. The service will expand to include all car2go members in the spring as well as new customers. As the service matures, long-term reservations for rentals will also be possible.

Daimler Mobility Services GmbH (DMS), a subsidiary of Daimler Financial Services AG, is with its car2go brand the world's pioneer and leading provider in the flexible car sharing segment. Besides car2go and car2go black, Daimler Mobility Services also offers the moovel mobility app currently in Europe. By comparing journey times and prices, moovel enables users to find the best way from A to B in any town using public transport, car2go, taxis, ride sharing and bike rentals. DMS is planning to expand moovel considerably during 2014, integrating more mobility services and including more cities throughout the world. The newest DMS service is "Park2gether", the contact forum which brings together providers and users of parking spaces. Pilot phases have been running since the third quarter of 2013 in Berlin and Hamburg.

car2go is now active at 25 locations in seven European and North American countries. Currently, approximately 10,000 smart fortwo vehicles are being used by more than 600,000 members.

About Daimler Mobility Services GmbH
Daimler Mobility Services GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler Financial Services AG, offers its customers innovative mobility services from a single source. With the car2go brand, the company is the world's leading provider in the flexible car sharing segment. With the moovel brand, the company also offers a smartphone app that is intuitive to use and allows customers to compare various mobility solutions with respect to different parameters in order to find the best way for them to get from A to B. The company is also involved in fields such as developing innovative solutions for finding and booking parking spaces.

car2go in detail:
car2go redefines personal, inner-city transportation: For the first time, smart fortwo vehicles can be rented, anywhere and any time, at affordable (per minute) rates. Vehicles can be located and booked using your smartphone or the internet. The rental itself is processed by an innovative telematics unit in the car. car2go has been running since 2008. The service is currently offered in 25 cities around the world. The fleet, which has now grown to around 10,000 vehicles, has been rented more than 18 million times by more than 600,000 customers.

The main features of car2go are:

- Availability: Many vehicles are distributed around the entire city.
- Flexibility: Open-ended and one-way rentals are possible at no extra cost.
- Simplicity: Fully automated rental process that is easy to understand.
- Clear costs: No binding contracts, no monthly fees, no minimum rental period.

As a result, car2go makes driving in the city as easy as making a phone call.

About Daimler
Daimler AG is one of the world's most successful automotive companies. With its Mercedes-Benz Cars, Daimler Trucks, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Daimler Buses, and Daimler Financial Services divisions, the Group is one of the leading global suppliers of premium cars and is the world's largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles. Daimler Financial Services offers financing, leasing, fleet management, insurance and innovative mobility services. The company founders, Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz, made history by inventing the automobile in 1886. As a pioneer of automotive engineering, Daimler continues to shape the future of mobility today by focusing on innovative and green technologies as well as on safe and superior vehicles that captivate and inspire. For years, Daimler has been continuously investing in the development of alternative drive systems as part of its long-term goal to make zero-emission driving a reality. As a result, Daimler offers not only hybrid vehicles but also the largest range of local zero-emission electric vehicles powered by batteries and fuel cells. This is just one example of how Daimler willingly accepts the challenge of meeting its responsibility towards society and the environment. Daimler sells its vehicles and services in nearly all the countries of the world and has production facilities on five continents. In addition to Mercedes-Benz, the world's most valuable premium automotive brand, Daimler's current brand portfolio includes smart, Freightliner, Western Star, BharatBenz, Fuso, Setra and Thomas Built Buses. The company is listed on the Frankfurt and Stuttgart stock exchanges (ticker symbol DAI). In 2012, the Group sold 2.2 million vehicles and employed a workforce of 275,000 people. Revenue totalled €114.3 billion and PBIT amounted to €8.6 billion.

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      This is good news! I will be in Berlin for a week in August. I will have to try it out. The press release does not make one thing clear: will the B-class vechilcles, any of them, be EVs? I know that the car2go service uses EVs in some of the Germany cities.