Ban affects just two busy streets, but it's a first, and others may follow
Last year, we brought you news of an automated valet parking system that would allow visitors to the Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart to have their cars drop them off and then go park itself autonomously. Now, one of Daimler's German rivals plans to offer similar capabilities. Volkswagen Group, which includes Porsche and Audi, is currently testing autonomous parking at the Hamburg Airport, with plans to put the technology into consumer vehicles beginning in 2020.
Audi is proving that the fresh water flowing through the European Alps isn't just for bottling and drinking anymore. The German automaker struck a deal with Hamburg-based LichtBlick to offer buyers of the Audi A3 Sportback E-Tron a chance to get their electrical juice from all renewable-energy sources. That means all the power going into charging stations can come from hydroelectric power from Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
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.
Hard as it may be to fathom, there are places in the world where cars simply don't make sense. Many of these places are the centers of major cities. And while most major American cities are fairly easy to get through via car, that's because they've benefited from more modern city planning techniques, utilizing things like the grid system.
A few weeks ago, we saw Paris announce its Autolib car sharing program, and now Hamburg, Germany is going to get a similar program. Daimler and Europcar has announced a joint venture, Car2go Hamburg GmbH – an expansion of Daimler's Car2go services in Ulm, Germany and Austin, TX – will launch in the spring of 2011. The fleet will initially consist of 300 Smart Fortwo Car2go edition models outfitted with carsharing telematics and a solar roof and will be expanded based on demand.