Daimler Launches Car2Go Car Sharing in Austin, Texas

Smart ForTwo Austin

In brief: Daimler's Smart ForTwo electric car is in Austin, Texas for the first of a series of planned North American car2go car-sharing programs.

Vehicle in the news

Make/Model: Smart ForTwo
Manufacturer: Daimler

The word

car2go

In a joint partnership with the City of Austin, Texas, Daimler's car2go pilot program has begun with 200 Smart ForTwo cars and a fixed number of current users. During 2010, the number of cars will increase and the car2go program will be opened to all Austin residents.

The way that car2go works is simple: vehicles are available to registered members. Any member can use the service anytime, day or night, 24/7 to book a car through the Internet or access any available vehicle from a parking hub.

Parking hubs can have one or more cars assigned to them and car2go members do not have to return the car to the hub they rented it from. No specific return time is required, so a customer can use the car indefinitely, being charged by time rather than miles.

As part of the deal with Austin, the use of the car2go system includes use of all city-controlled parking areas/fees for the cars. Usage fees for those parking and plug-in ports is paid by car2go in-kind with free memberships for city offices so employees can use the cars.

And so ...

It will be interesting to see how this goes off and whether it is viable in the U.S. It's done well in Germany so far and could be a good way for larger cities to handle traffic congestion and public transit woes.

Photo credits: car2go

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