Daimler's open-ended Car2go car-sharing program has its deepest U.S. roots in the city of Austin, TX. That's where the first North American Car2go program was established and where a two-year pilot program just concluded. The trial's end doesn't mean the free-range Smart cars will go away, though. Instead, Daimler and Austin's city government have agreed to continue offering cars there with a deal that includes introducing all-electric vehicles to Austin (like Car2go does in San Diego) and updating the in-car telematics system. Daimler will also keep Car2go's North America corporate headquarters in Austin. In two years, over 21,000 people have signed up for Car2go in Austin. That's an awful lot of people who share a few hundred cars.

Car2go's success means that it plans to expand to new cities in North America. Currently, the program exists in Austin, San Diego and Vancouver (as well as Ulm and Hamburg, Germany, Amsterdam, Netherlands and Vienna, Austria). The likely next city in the U.S. is Washington, D.C., even though Daimler has not yet made an official announcement about this. There is some early information available here, and we will let you know when full details are released. For more details on how Car2go works, read this and this.
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car2go Completes Pilot Program, Enters New Agreement With the City of Austin's Car-Share Austin Program

- More than 21,000 Austin residents register with car2go during 2-year pilot program

- car2go brings the newest in carsharing technology to Austin
CAR2GO AUSTIN, TEXAS car2go celebrates two years in Austin, Texas with more than 21,000 members. (PRNewsFoto/car2go) AUSTIN, TX UNITED STATES

AUSTIN, Texas, Dec. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- car2go, the largest carsharing network in Austin, Texas, announced today the completion of its two-year car2go North America Pilot Program with the City of Austin. Under a newly signed agreement with the City of Austin's Car-Share program, car2go will continue operations in Austin.

car2go, developed by Daimler as the world's first free-floating carsharing network, launched its first North American Pilot Program with the City of Austin and its employees in November 2009. In May 2010, car2go opened its services to the public in Austin and, in less than two years, has grown to include more than 21,000 registered members.

"The City of Austin is committed to bringing the best transportation options to its residents, and our new car sharing program will be a tremendous addition to our transportation system in Austin," said Mayor Lee Leffingwell. "The residents and businesses in Austin now have more transportation options, with the overall goal of reducing downtown congestion and improving the overall quality of life in Austin."

"car2go has received a remarkable reception from the residents and businesses of this forward-thinking city since we first launched here in Austin two years ago," said Nicholas Cole, President and CEO of car2go North America. "We look forward to continuing to work closely with the City of Austin and the Car-Share Austin Program."

"As the first North American car2go city, Austin will continue to be the home of our corporate headquarters and a showcase city for building on the success of the car2go carsharing model, which has redefined traditional carsharing with a truly flexible point-to-point transportation solution," Cole went on to say.

Introducing the Latest in Carsharing Technology

In January 2012, car2go will begin to introduce several electric vehicles in Austin, as part of its commitment to providing the most innovative and environmentally-friendly carsharing options to its members. The car2go smart fortwo electric drive vehicles will be marked with "Electric Drive" on the side, and information about the vehicles and how to recharge them will be shared with members via email and social media.

Beginning this month, car2go members in Austin will see an updated version of the "telematic" touch screen inside the vehicle. A zoom-in and zoom-out function will now be available on the GPS navigation, and the map will now include indicators for each car2go designated parking space, so that members can easily find parking.

car2go Around the World

The success of car2go in Austin has allowed car2go to expand to new cities throughout North America. In June 2011 car2go launched its first Canadian city in Vancouver, British Columbia; and in November 2011 car2go launched the first all-electric carsharing network in North America in San Diego, California. In Europe, car2go operates in Ulm and Hamburg, Germany; Amsterdam, Netherlands; and Vienna, Austria. Throughout the next several years, car2go will expand globally to more than 50 cities worldwide. As the car2go business continues to expand, Austin will remain a showcase city for car2go in North America, and it will continue to be the home of the car2go North America corporate headquarters.

car2go -- A Different Way to Carshare

A wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler North America Corporation, car2go N. A., LLC, offers an innovative mobility solution redefining individual transportation in rapidly growing urban areas by offering a network of several hundred environment-friendly smart fortwo vehicles for rent. It provides an innovative mode of "on-demand" transportation, which complements 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 seven cities: Austin, Texas; Vancouver, British Columbia; San Diego, California; Ulm, Germany; Hamburg, Germany; Amsterdam, Netherlands; and Vienna, Austria.

Unlike traditional carsharing programs or car rental companies, car2go is free-floating, and very flexible. 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.

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