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Car2Go: Smart Cars and a Smart Idea

June 4, 2013 - If anyone ever told me that it could be economical to rent a car by the minute, I would probably have told them they were absolutely crazy, but Car2Go, a subsidiary of Daimler of Germany has proven the concept of car sharing to be a success throughout Europe and many North America cities.

Daimler launched the concept in October 2008 with the first unit based in Germany. Using the two-seater Smart Car the company collects an initial $35, and after that charges apply based on time used. These rates aren’t exact because they can vary by city, but it will give you the general idea.

• $.35 per minute
• $14 an hour
• $73 a day

That actually sounds ridiculously high but when you consider that it takes care of gas, your insurance is completely covered, and there’s no worry about paying city parking fees it’s actually not such a bad deal. You don’t have to worry about vehicle upkeep such as replacing fuel pumps and expensive turbochargers. There’s also no extra charge for one-way drop off.

Just imagine how cool it would be pick up your smart phone, get into your app, and locate a car at the nearest location. You go to the location and simply wave your access card over a sensor in the windshield. The car automatically unlocks and your rental charges began. That’s a pretty slick concept.

Car2Go is growing like wildfire. It has over 7,000 vehicles operating in 20 plus cities around the world. They nearly have 400,000 customers. Not too shabby! They’re up to 10 or so American cities with 2,000 plus vehicles and still growing.

It’s definitely not the cheapest form of city transportation and there may not always be a car available when you need one and want one. It’s not a perfect business model. But then, is there such a thing?

Here’s a list of cities in the USA that currently have Car2Go.

• Austin, Texas
• Miami, Florida
• Portland, Oregon
• San Diego, California
• Washington, D. C.
• Seattle, Washington
• South Bay, Los Angeles, California
• Minneapolis, Minnesota
• Columbus, Ohio
• Denver, Colorado

So if you’re going to be visiting one of these cities and don’t want to get a rental car maybe it’s time to give car sharing a try.

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