Using 300 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive vehicles, Daimler's Car2go carsharing program will expand to San Diego, CA this fall. The program – using standard, gasoline-powered Fortwos – already exists in Austin, TX and Vancouver, BC and in some European cities (Amsterdam, for example, will be getting the Fortwo ED Car2go experience before the end of the year). As you might already know, the basic gist of Car2go is that the Fortwos are parked in an urban area and program members can hop in any available vehicle and pay a per-minute fee (in Austin, it's 35 cents) to go anywhere within the predetermined "geofence." Once at his or her destination, the driver simply locks the car up and walks away. It's the K.I.S.S. way to car share.
The all-electric Fortwos that will be used in San Diego have "high-efficiency lithium-ion batteries" that can go around 84 miles before needing a charge. And, given the use pattern for car sharing – Daimler says that "the daily stretch covered by car2go drivers in urban areas rarely exceeds 6 miles" – and the fact that fast charging can get the packs from 20 percent to 80 percent full in three-and-a-half hours, it'll be interesting to see how often these cars are actually recharged. Car2go's partner in San Diego is ECOtality, which will install around 1,000 Blink chargers throughout the city by the end of the year. We'll have more from San Diego soon. Until then, you can read this detailed post on how Car2go works in Austin.
• car2go to introduce first North American all-electric carsharing program
in San Diego
• 300 zero-emission smart fortwo electric drive vehicles arrive in San Diego by the end of 2011
SAN DIEGO - car2go N. A. LLC, a subsidiary of Daimler North America Corporation, announced that San Diego will be the first North American city to have a 100-percent electric vehicle (EV) carsharing program. San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, Nicholas Cole, President and CEO of car2go N. A. LLC, and Jonathan Read, CEO of ECOtality, made the official announcement at a news conference at the El Cortez this morning.
"We're proud that car2go has chosen to launch the first North American all-electric carsharing service in San Diego," said San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders. "car2go's launch here further supports our efforts to make San Diego the nation's electric vehicle capital."
The all-electric car2go program in San Diego is going to start operations before the end of 2011 with 300 smart fortwo electric drive vehicles.
"The launch of an all electric vehicle fleet marks a new era in carsharing in North America," said Nicholas Cole, President and CEO of car2go N. A. LLC. "San Diego is a forward-thinking city determined to meet future transportation demands of its residents. Our goal is to complement the existing transportation infrastructure by providing an emission- free carsharing service for short and spontaneous one-way trips."
All smart fortwo electric drive cars will be equipped with the latest car2go telematics technology, allowing fully automated, easy and convenient rental operations. As the world's first free-floating carsharing service, car2go provides its members with the possibility to rent the cars spontaneously without having the burden to commit to a specific return time or location.
The car2go program is already very successful in four cities with a total of more than 40,000 members and 1,000 smart fortwo vehicles with low-emission gas engines.
Right from the beginning, the smart fortwo was designed for electric drive and that now shows," says Dr. Annette Winkler, Head of smart. "I love driving the smart electric drive and I am convinced that the car2go members in California will enjoy using this forward technology to get around their home town San Diego - a new method of transportation both pleasing to the ear and the environment."
The smart fortwo electric drive is powered by a 30 kW electric propulsion system. It is economical, quiet and emissions-free. In San Diego, the high-efficiency lithium-ion batteries can be recharged at designated EV charging stations. On a single charge, the car can travel up to 84 miles. Battery recharging time from 20 percent to 80 percent of battery full capacity is just three and a half hours. Recharging a completely discharged battery takes no more than eight hours, which makes it possible to recharge overnight. Past experience shows that this is seldom necessary, as the daily stretch covered by car2go drivers in urban areas rarely exceeds 6 miles.
"By being the first to make an all-electric network of vehicles easily accessible for thousands of people, we are revolutionizing carsharing and creating the future of the urban transportation," says Cole.
The electric car2go vehicles will be charged at Blink EV charging stations developed by California-based technology provider ECOtality. The company is currently in the process of siting and installing the charging stations, and approximately 1,000 Blink commercial charging stations are expected to be installed by end of 2011 for public use in San Diego.
"Innovative carsharing programs like car2go's service are pivotal to encouraging the mainstream adoption of electric vehicles," said Jonathan Read, CEO of ECOtality. "As we deploy approximately 1,000 Blink charging stations in the San Diego region as part of The EV Project, we are creating the robust public infrastructure necessary for car2go's program to succeed. Together, we will show that EVs are a perfect fit for the lifestyle of San Diego drivers."
The electric car2go service in San Diego will be operated by car2go N. A. LLC. Further details of the service such as business area, parking and charging concept as well as start of customer registrations will be announced in the near future.
car2go – A Different Way to Carshare
A subsidiary of Daimler, car2go is an innovative mobility solution redefining individual transportation in rapidly growing urban areas by offering a fleet of several hundred environment-friendly smart vehicles for rent. It provides an innovative mode of "on-demand" transportation which compliments existing public transportation alternatives by bridging the gaps commonly associated with the "first and last mile" of a public transit commute.
car2go is currently operational in four cities: Austin, Texas; Vancouver, British Columbia; Hamburg, Germany; Ulm, Germany. Unlike traditional carsharing programs or car rental companies, car2go is not station-based. car2go vehicles are located throughout the city and can be accessed "on-demand" or reserved in advance. The members may use the vehicle for as long as they like, without committing to a specific return time or return location. Charges are based on minutes used and include fuel, insurance, parking and maintenance.
The innovation and environmental sustainability of car2go has earned international acclaim: In September 2010, car2go was recognized by the Austin Chamber of Commerce with the "2010 Greater Austin Business Award" for its positive impact on traffic in the city. The same month, car2go received the "Clean Tech Media Award" in the category of "Mobility" in Berlin. In May 2010, car2go was honored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with its prestigious "2010 EPA Clean Air Excellence Award." Further information on car2go is available at www.car2go.com and www.media.daimler.com/ms/car2go/e.