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Daimler’s car-sharing service car2go expands to Canada

Daimler’s car-sharing service car2go (earlier post) is expanding into Canada with the announcement that Vancouver, British Columbia, is the first Canadian city selected to launch its innovative mobility service. A newly created company, car2go Canada Ltd., a subsidiary of Daimler North America Corporation, will also be located in Vancouver.

First launched in Ulm, Germany three years ago, car2go was successfully rolled out a year later in North America in Austin, Texas. To date, a total of more than 35,000 customers have joined the car2go program in Ulm and Austin. There have been more than 600,000 fully automated rental transactions, averaging between 10 and 60 minutes.

car2go was also recently introduced in Hamburg, Germany, and becomes operational in Amsterdam in the Netherlands at the end of 2011.

car2go uses a “free-floating” model of car sharing, where cars are available throughout the city and can be accessed “on-demand” or reserved up to 24 hours in advance. car2go members can use car2go smartphone apps, the car2go website or a telephone hotline to find the nearest vehicle within the 47-square-kilometer Vancouver pickup and drop-off area which consists of the following quadrant: the south border follows 41st Avenue to the north border which follows the Burrard Inlet. The east border is Nanaimo Street and the west border is Alma Street.

Members can drive the car when and where they want, and then they can simply leave it in any available “permit only” on-street parking spot in downtown or residential neighborhoods within the defined business area, or in one of the specially marked car2go parking spaces. In essence, every trip is a one-way rental, with no need to return to the location where the driver picked up the vehicle.

car2go charges customers only for the actual use of the vehicle, with rental periods as short as a per-minute basis. The rental prices in Vancouver are C$0.35 per minute, C$12.99 per hour and C$65.99 CAD per day which includes fuel, parking, mileage, insurance, maintenance, cleaning, GPS navigation and a 24/7 hotline customer support.

The smart “car2go edition” vehicles, developed in collaboration by car2go and smart in Germany, are the first series-produced automobiles designed and manufactured specifically for car sharing. Every car2go vehicle is outfitted with a solar roof and telematics hardware, including an onboard computer with a touch screen with radio and GPS controls. The smart “car2go edition” vehicles for Vancouver are provided by Mercedes- Benz Canada and its Vancouver Retail Group.

A network of 225 smart “car2go edition” vehicles will be available to Vancouver car2go members as of June 2011. Starting today until 29 May 2011, Vancouver residents can pre-register for their car2go membership without having to pay the registration fee (a C$35 value) at www.car2govancouver.com using Promo Code: VAN, or in person at the car2go office at 45 Water Street in the Gastown area of downtown Vancouver.

car2go conducted a trial assessment of its service in Vancouver from June 2010 to March 2011 with select test users.

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