Offering vehicles on a rental based pickup service is not entirely foreign to European cities. In fact, for some time now Paris, France has experimented with the idea with their proposed Autolib’ program which is based off an already successful bicycle loan system. Now, Daimler is planning on revamping their similar car2go program in Germany to use hybrid cars and electric vehicles.
Currently, the car2go program has been in operation since 2008 in Ullm, Germany before expanding to Austin, Texas in 2010 and serving as Daimler’s means of determining the effectiveness of the program. Once data starting rolling in that showed that the program was worth keeping the company began making plans to expand it to Hamburg, Germany and to Amsterdam in The Netherlands. While the new car2go programs will be similar to those that came before, the main change will be the addition of fully electric vehicles.
The vehicles that will be added to the Hamburg fleet in particular will be the Fortwo smart car. The vehicle features a fuel efficient gasoline engine and a solar roof that generates enough electricity to power many of the vehicles systems including the interior ventilation systems. Amsterdam’s fleet will be slightly different thanks to the fact that it will be receiving 300 fully electric versions of the Fortwo smart cars.
In order to support the new fleet, which will be the first fully electric car2go fleet, 300 charging stations are going to be added throughout Amsterdam initially with plans to expand that number to around 1,000 in later years.
Thanks to the fact that the current daily rentals of the car2go system are approaching eight per day, Daimler believes these new fleets in larger population centers will be wildly successful while expanding a bit of green vehicle technology to people who otherwise wouldn’t be purchasing an electric vehicle.
Article by Richard Cooke, appearing courtesy Justmeans.