car2go: smart

Through the month of May, according to Autodata, there were 2,226 smart vehicles sold in the U.S.

Through the month of May, according to Autodata, there were 2,226 smart vehicles sold in the U.S.

And while it is not a part of the U.S., it is interesting to note that earlier this month, 225 smart vehicles went into operation as part of a free-floating carsharing service in Vancouver, British Columbia, car2go.

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smart car2go in Vancouver

Here’s the interesting thing: car2go was actually established by Daimler in 2009, with its first setup in Ulm, Germany. It is now in Hamburg and Austin, Texas, as well. This isn’t a matter of a independent company or a classic rental firm going into carsharing: it is a vehicle manufacturer.

The principal of this approach is that members (in Vancouver, residents can sign up for free until July 3; after that it is $35) are able to rent a car on an as-needed basis or reserve on 24 hours in advance via a computer or smart phone. Fees are based on time, by the minute. There is no committed return time. And unlike other carsharing services, the car doesn’t have to be returned to where it started; it can be left in various specified areas.

Also unlike other carsharing services, car2go is based on smart cars, not a variety of vehicle types.

So far, there are more than 40,000 members and 1,000 smart cars in the network.

Given the challenge of moving smart cars on the retail market, this alternative might be an interesting alternative.