car2go today announced the official launch of one of the world’s first large scale all-electric vehicle carsharing fleets in Amsterdam. Beginning November 24th, 300 smart fortwo electric drive vehicles will be available for on-demand mobility, without the necessity of returning them to a fixed rental station.
Even recharging of the electric vehicles is not mandatory after each rental, because the range of the smart fortwo electric drive is eight to ten times higher than the average operating distance of a car2go rental. Amsterdam will be the fifth city with a car2go service globally, but the first in Europe with an all-electric fleet. Together with Amsterdam’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure, which only uses energy from renewable resources, the car2go fleet of local zero emission cars is improving air quality and, due to the compact smart two-seater vehicle, is saving valuable space in the city center, of the beautiful capital of the Netherlands. The launch of car2go Amsterdam will introduce a completely new pricing structure for car2go, not only for Amsterdam but also for existing and future car2go locations throughout Europe.
“The 300 white smart fortwo electric drive from car2go fit with the commitment of Amsterdam to improve the air quality of the city, focusing particularly on the reduction of the pollution caused by businesses which drive many kilometers in the city like taxi and delivery traffic. Expectations are that many kilometers will be driven with the car2go vehicles and, therefore, it is very positive that they are driven by an electric motor,” says Eric Wiebes, alderman for traffic, transportation and air quality of the city of Amsterdam. “After all, these vehicles are emission-free and that is good news for the health of the citizens of the city of Amsterdam. Another advantage is that it brings electric driving closer to the general public in one go.”
Amsterdam is not only well-known for its Amsterdam electric program, but also for its efficient public transit network and various bike and car sharing programs, which are well accepted by its citizens. car2go will complement these existing transport systems by providing a service for short and spontaneous one-way trips with electric vehicles. Experiences from other cities showing, that the program could be a door-opener for a better modal split of urban transport.
The 300 car2go vehicles and other electric cars in Amsterdam will have access to more than 250 charging stations in the city area right now, most of them with two load-points. The number will increase significantly up to 1,000 by end of 2012.
A new kind of urban mobility
The launch date of car2go in Amsterdam will be November 24th, but interested citizens can register for the program immediately, either online at www.car2go.com or by visiting the new car2go shop, which is located at Oude Spiegelstraat 6a. Registration is for free until the launch date. Afterwards there will be a one-time registration fee of 10 Euro before customers get their membercards.
car2go Amsterdam will operate in an area of 80 square kilometers, which covers large parts of the city. The approximate dimension of this business area is within the highway belt, excluding Amsterdam North but with so called “Hubs” in Zuidas, Arena and IJburg. Customers can drive with their car2go everywhere during the rental period, but must return to the business area to finish the rental. The vehicles can be picked-up and dropped-off at any public parking spot inside the business area or at one of 36 specially marked car2go parking spots in six “Q-Park” garages in the city centre.
The rental does not need to be ended every time at a charging station. However, if the battery capacity (state of charge) is lower than 20 percent, rentals must be finished at one of the charging stations, which are displayed in the on-board navigation. If the battery level is lower than 40 percent, drivers will receive 10 free minutes for re-charging the car. The charging does not need to be completed before a car2go can be rented again: if there is a minimum 50 percent state of charge, the vehicle is available for the next customer.
All 300 smart fortwo electric drive vehicles are equipped with latest telematics technology, allowing fully automated, easy and convenient rental operations. It allows customers to rent the cars spontaneously without having the burden to commit to a specific return time or location. The cars have a lithium-ion traction battery, an automatic gearbox and a range of 135 km. On-board are air-conditioning, a radio and a navigation system.
“Combining environmentally responsible driving with perfect functionality, the smart fortwo is the ideal car for individual mobility in dense urban areas like Amsterdam and covers more than 95 percent of a customer’s transportation needs,” says Robert Henrich, CEO of Daimler’s subsidiary car2go GmbH, “We are very happy to launch an all-electric car2go program in this beautiful city, with its strong focus on sustainability and its open-minded lifestyle.”
Groundbreaking pricing model
Amsterdam will introduce a new car2go pricing model, which makes on-demand mobility by car more favorable than ever and will be also introduced in other existing and future European car2go cities from November. One minute of car2go driving costs 29 Cent. The hourly rate will be 12,90 Euro and there will be a daily rate of 39 Euro (24 hours). If car2go is used for stop-overs, a special parking rate of 9 Cent per minute (5,40 Euro per hour) will be calculated. Insurance, taxes, electricity and parking costs are fully included in this price.
In Amsterdam, due to the limited range of electric vehicles, kilometres will not be limited. In the other European cities where car2go is operating combustion engine vehicles, the first 20 kilometres are included in the rate. Additional kilometres will cost 29 Cent each. Based on the experience of hundreds of thousands car2go rentals in four cities worldwide, more than 95 percent of all car2go rentals will not hit the 20 kilometres mark, so that for the majority of the customers the new pricing scheme is a great price-cut.
“With this new pricing model, we are lowering the costs of car2go usage for a overwhelming number of our customers and focussing car2go to its proper destination as a short-time urban mobility concept,” Robert Henrich explains the change.
The car2go program is already very successful in the German cities of Ulm and Hamburg, the Texan capital of Austin in the U.S. and the Canadian city of Vancouver. More than 45,000 members have used the 1,100 car2go more than 900,000 times. The average duration of a car2go rental is between 15 and 60 minutes and the average range lies between 5 and 10 kilometers.
Source: Daimler AG