|Part of the Amsterdam car2go EV fleet. Click to enlarge.|
Daimler subsidiary car2go launched one of the first large-scale all-electric vehicle car-sharing fleets in Amsterdam. Beginning 24 November, 300 smart fortwo electric drive vehicles will be available for on-demand mobility, without the necessity of returning them to a fixed rental station. 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. Amsterdam’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure only uses energy from renewable resources. The launch of car2go Amsterdam also will introduce a new pricing structure for car2go, not only for Amsterdam but also for existing and future car2go locations throughout Europe.
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.
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 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 center.
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%, 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%, 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% state of charge, the vehicle is available for the next customer.
All 300 smart fortwo electric drive vehicles are equipped with 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 (84 miles). On-board are air-conditioning, a radio and a navigation system.
Under the new pricing model, one minute of car2go driving costs 29 Euro cents (US$0.41). The hourly rate will be €12.90 (US$18.23) and there will be a daily rate (24 hours) of €39 Euro (US$55.10). If car2go is used for stop-overs, a special parking rate of 9 cents (US$0.13) per minute (€5.40 (US$7.63) 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, kilometers will not be limited. In the other European cities where car2go is operating combustion engine vehicles, the first 20 kilometers are included in the rate. Additional kilometers will cost 29 cents each. Based on the experience of hundreds of thousands car2go rentals in four cities worldwide, more than 95% of all car2go rentals will not hit the 20 kilometers mark, so that for the majority of the customers the new pricing scheme is a great price-cut.
In total, more than 45,000 members have used the 1,100 car2go units 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.