The newly-created Car2go Canada Limited, a subsidiary of Daimler North America, will also be located in Vancouver. The announcement was made as Car2go Canada president and CEO Nicholas Cole and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson test-drove the Smart Car2go Edition vehicles.
Car2go was launched three years ago in Ulm, Germany and moved into North America a year later with a launch in Austin, Texas. To date, more than 35,000 customers have joined in the two locations, with more than 600,000 fully automated rental transactions, each averaging between ten and 60 minutes. Car2go was also recently introduced in Hamburg, Germany and will open in Amsterdam at the end of 2011.
“We’re very excited that Car2go will be making its Canadian debut in Vancouver,” Robertson said. “Our goal is to become the ‘greenest’ city in the world by 2020, and providing cleaner transportation options is a big part of that. We want to ensure that we provide a full range of sustainable transportation options for our citizens, and Car2go’s unique car-sharing model is a great fit for Vancouver.”
Car2go uses a “free-floating” model, where cars are available throughout the city and can be accessed on demand or reserved up to 24 hours in advance. Members use a smart phone application, Web site or telephone hotline to find the nearest vehicle within the pickup and drop-off area, which is bordered by 41st Avenue, the Burrard Inlet, Naniamo Street and Alma Street.
Members can drive the car when and where they want, simply leaving it in any available permit-only on-street parking spot in the defined business area or in a specially-marked Car2go parking space. Every trip is a one-way rental with no need to return to the location where the car was picked up.
Customers are charged only for actual use of the vehicle, with rental periods as short as per-minute. In Vancouver, rental prices are $0.35 per minute, $12.99 per hour and $65.99 per day, which includes fuel, parking, mileage, insurance, maintenance, cleaning, GPS navigation and 24/7 hotline customer support.
The Car20go Edition vehicles, developed in Germany between Car2go and Smart, are the world’s first series-produced automobiles designed and manufactured specifically for car sharing. They include a solar roof, onboard computer and touch screen with radio and GPS controls. The Vancouver vehicles are provided by Mercedes-Benz Canada and its Vancouver Retail Group.
A network of 225 vehicles will be available in Vancouver as of June 2011. From now until May 29, 2011, Vancouver residents can preregister for a membership without having to pay the $35.00 registration fee. For information, visit Car2go Vancouver, using the promotion code VAN, or visit in person at 45 Water Street in the Gastown area of downtown Vancouver.
In addition to waiving registration fees for the next 30 days, Car2go will also donate two dollars from every annual membership fee to Canuck Place Children’s Hospice over the next twelve months.