Daimler's Car2Go Service Allows Members To Rent Smart Fortwo Cars
7:05 AM, Jul 13, 2011
North America's first all-electric car sharing service was launched in San Diego on Wednesday.Daimler's Car2Go unveiled its all-electric cars that will be hitting the streets of San Diego by the end of the year.The new program will allow members to rent Smart Fortwo cars by the minute after paying a $35 one-time membership fee. The rates have not been finalized, but Car2Go says they will be around $0.35 a minute, $13 an hour or $66 a day."We're confident it's going to work," said Nicholas Cole, the president and CEO of Car2Go. "I mean, you have the density of people living in downtown [and] people commuting downtown who could switch to using public transportation and having access to car sharing We're confident it will be a success here."Car2Go said it chose to launch the program in San Diego because of the number of charging stations in place. "That's really built on the fact that San Diego will have the first built-out charging system in America," said San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders.There are 1,500 charging stations around the city, including six at Balboa Park. More charging stations are on the way."These charging stations are going to be very accessible for people," said Jonathan Read, Ecotality President and CEO. "They're going to be located in places where people normally shop, play, eat, go to movie theaters [and] work."Car2Go will start the program with 300 Smart Fortwo cars powered by 30-kilowatt electric engines. The cars can travel up to 84 miles on a single charge and can go up to 64 miles per hour.The environmentally-friendly cars will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The company said the charging will be free and the insurance is included. Members will not have to return the car at the same place where they picked it up.In June, a City Council committee approved changes to the municipal code that would create dedicated spaces for Car2Go charging stations and allow car-sharing vehicles to be parked in the downtown area. Car2Go would reimburse the City for any lost meter revenue.The full City Council is expected to vote on the changes next Monday.