LONDON – car2go, the simple-to-use carsharing service from Daimler and Europcar, has launched in three London boroughs. The idea behind car2go is simple – it’s a whole new way of getting around that’s easy to use, easy on the pocket, and easy on the environment. The future of Urban Mobility.
From Tuesday 4 December, car2go’s fleet of funky smart mhd coupés are available to use – just get in and drive off. People can register free for car2go until the end of 2012, either online at car2go.com/London or at the car2go shop in the world’s first pop-up mall, BOXPARK Shoreditch, or at car rental company Europcar’s stores across London. Once registered, car2go members can locate any available car through the car2go London website, by using a free app or just by walking up to an available car, touching the card reader on the windscreen, getting in and driving off.
As easy as using your mobile phone
car2go costs 35p per minute and is billed directly to the customers’ account. Until 31 December 2012, customers can register for free and get 30 minutes of driving pre-loaded onto their account. This rate always includes fuel, insurance, road tax, parking and maintenance. Customers don’t even have to return their car2go to the same parking bay from which it was collected – any borough-owned or unregulated parking space in a participating borough will do. And of course the cars can be driven anywhere any car can. The car2go can be kept as long as the customer wants, or for a quick hop across town.
“A lot of Londoners don’t need or want a car all the time but enjoy the freedom that driving brings. car2go gives the best of both worlds – the ability to go where you want, when you want – and in comfort – but without all the costs associated with owning, running and insuring a car full-time,” said Stefan Mueller, CEO car2go Europe gmbh. “Today’s launch in three London Boroughs is a big moment for car2go – the Capital is our first UK city. Of course, we’re working with other Boroughs to bring car2go to more people over the coming weeks and months – and other cities and towns too. We’re really at the beginning of a very exciting story for urban mobility in Great Britain.”
London is the 17th city served by car2go, and globally the company has more than 250,000 customers who use over 6,000 vehicles worldwide. More than five million car2go rental transactions have been made to date, and this number continues to rise exponentially. In fact, a car2go vehicle is now being rented at one of the existing locations every four seconds.
Every car2go vehicle in London is based on the smart mhd – an efficient, compact two-seater which emits just 98g/km of CO2, plus the convenience of automatic transmission, start-stop technology, GPS navigation and the comfort of air conditioning. The smart fortwo coupé is easy to drive due to its dinky dimensions, a dream to park, and super safe thanks to its tridion safety cell. It’s surprisingly practical too: its boot can accommodate everything from a quick shop to a tumble dryer – perfect for those impulse buys whether its Green Street, Upper Street, Cheam Road or anywhere in between.
Marcus Breitschwerdt, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz UK Ltd, added: “Our smarts are Congestion Charge-exempt, all have eco-start/stop, automatic transmission, air conditioning, GPS navigation, are fuelled, insured and cleaned and are available 24/7. If you park in a Borough-operated parking bay in Islington, Sutton or Newham you don’t even have to pay for parking – car2go has got that covered too.”
"car2go underlines Daimler's expertise not only as a leader and driving force in car technology and green innovation on the vehicle itself, but also Daimler's role as the unmatched leader in developing modern mobility concepts for people and goods."
Ken McCall, Managing Director, Europcar UK Group, said: “Europcar is very excited to be involved in this new innovation for UK motorists. Our focus is all about mobility and we believe car2go gives drivers even more choice in how they want to travel.”
How It Works
As the world’s first-free floating carsharing service, car2go provides a new way of carsharing that is unique, particularly in these three areas:
By The Minute: Members pay only for the time they use the car, by the minute, with discounted rates for hourly and daily use. There is no minimum amount of time that a car can be used – whether a member needs a car for five minutes or an entire day – members simply get in and drive, for as long as they want without having to commit to a mandatory return time or location. Parking, fuel, maintenance and insurance are included at no additional cost, and there are no annual or monthly fees.
On Demand: Members can use the first available car2go they find, via a smart phone app, the car2go vehicle finder at car2go.com or by simply locating an available car2go on the street. There is no need to make a reservation in advance because members have unrestricted and unlimited access to car2go vehicles 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Free Floating: Members can pick up and drop off any car2go anywhere within the car2go Home Area − in any legal on-street parking space, including metered and non-metered spaces. Members do not need to drive the car back to its original location or commit to a predetermined amount of time. They can simply drive the car for as long as they need it, park the car at their destination, end the rental by swiping the card on the windscreen reader, and instantly the car becomes available for the next member to use.
There are five simple steps to using car2go:
Step 1: Become a Member – Licensed drivers can register to become a car2go member at car2go.com. Within three to five business days, a member card will be mailed to them. This membership card will give members access to all the cars in London.
Step 2: Locate a Vehicle – Members use the car2go finder at car2go.com, a smart phone app, tablet app, or the car2go facebook app to locate the nearest available car. They can either use the car spontaneously (without a reservation) or book a car2go in advance online or through the app, up to 24 hours in advance.
Step 3: Access the Vehicle – Members can simply walk up to the car2go, hold the membership card against the card reader on the windshield and the doors will unlock. After entering a PIN on the touchscreen and rating the condition of the vehicle, a key will be released, allowing them to drive.
Step 4: Drive – Members can take the car key which is stowed next to the touchscreen unit, start the car2go and drive off. They can drive as long as they want, without having to commit to a return time or location.
Step 5: Finish the Trip – Members can complete their trip in any available public parking space within the car2go Home Area. Charges are calculated by the minute, at a rate of 0.35 pence per minute, and will be debited from their credit card after exiting the vehicle. Fuel, parking, maintenance and insurance are included at no additional cost.
1. Europcar stores in London where customers can register for car2go:
- Europcar Station Islington , 1-9 Market Road, Islington, N7 9PL
- Europcar Station Kings Cross, 136-150 Pentonville Road, N1 9JE
- Europcar Station Marble Arch, 7-23 Bryanston Street, W1H 7BD
- Europcar Station Bayswater, Elm Mews, W2 3P
- Europcar Station Victoria, 12 Semley Place, SW1W 9QL
- Europcar Station Fulham Broadway, 73/77 Britannia Road, SW6 2JR
- Europcar Station Putney Bridge, 72 The Arches, Ranelagh Gardens, SW63 UH
- Europcar Station Waterloo Station, 43 York Road, SE1 7NJ
- Europcar Station Kennington, 68-86 Clapham Road, London SW9 0JJ
- Europcar Station North Cheam, 133 Stonecot Hill, Sutton SM3 9HS
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A wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler, car2go offers an innovative mobility solution redefining individual transportation in rapidly growing urban areas by offering a network of several hundred environment-friendly smart fortwo vehicles for rent. It provides an innovative mode of “on-demand” transportation, which complements existing public transportation alternatives by bridging the gaps commonly associated with the “first and last mile” of a public transit commute.
car2go is currently operational in 15 cities worldwide with a total of 6,000 smart fortwo vehicles: Ulm, Germany; Hamburg, Germany; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Vienna, Austria; Dusseldorf, Germany; Berlin, Germany; Cologne, Germany; Stuttgart, Germany; Austin, Texas; Vancouver, British Columbia; San Diego, California; Washington, D.C.; Portland, Oregon; Toronto, Ontario; Calgary, Alberta and Miami, Florida. In November 2011, car2go launched the world’s largest all-electric vehicle carsharing network in the cities of San Diego, California, and Amsterdam, Netherlands, with the deployment of 300 car2go smart fortwo electric drive vehicles in each city. Currently, there are more than 250,000 car2go members worldwide which made more than 5 Million rentals.
The innovation and environmental sustainability of car2go have earned international acclaim: In 2012, car2go was named the “Best Carshare” by the Vancouver Courier. In September 2010, car2go received the “Clean Tech Media Award” in the category of “Mobility” in Berlin. In May 2010, car2go was honored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with its prestigious “2010 EPA Clean Air Excellence Award.”
Daimler AG is one of the world’s most successful automotive companies. With its divisions Mercedes- Benz Cars, Daimler Trucks, Mercedes-BenzVans, Daimler Buses and Daimler Financial Services, the Daimler Group is one of the biggest producers of premium cars and the world’s biggest manufacturer of commercial vehicles with a global reach. Daimler Financial Services provides financing, leasing, fleet management, insurance and innovative mobility services.
The company’s founders, Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz, made history with the invention of the automobile in the year 1886. As a pioneer of automotive engineering, Daimler continues to shape the future of mobility today: The Group’s focus is on innovative and green technologies as well as on safe and superior automobiles that appeal to and fascinate its customers. For many years now, Daimler has been investing continually in the development of alternative drive systems with the goal of making emission-free driving possible in the long term. So in addition to vehicles with hybrid drive, Daimler now has the broadest range of locally emission-free electric vehicles powered by batteries and fuel cells. This is just one example of how Daimler willingly accepts the challenge of meeting its responsibility toward society and the environment.
Daimler sells its vehicles and services in nearly all the countries of the world and has production facilities on five continents. Its current brand portfolio includes, in addition to the world’s most valuable premium automotive brand, Mercedes-Benz, the brands smart, Maybach, Freightliner, Western Star, BharatBenz, Fuso, Setra, Orion and Thomas Built Buses. The company is listed on the stock exchanges of Frankfurt and Stuttgart (stock exchange symbol DAI). In 2011, the Group sold 2.1 million vehicles and employed a workforce of more than 271,000 people; revenue totaled €106.5 billion and EBIT amounted to € 8.8 billion.
Europcar is the largest car rental company in Europe and among the top three car rental companies in the world. With its 579 offices in Germany alone, many of which are open around the clock, the company offers optimum availability and service. ISO-certified quality and environmental management systems are firmly established within the company’s philosophy. Numerous awards and distinctions such as “Bester Autovermieter 2012” (best car rental company 2012) as voted by the readers of the journal “Firmenauto” and the titles of “World’s Leading Car Hire”, “World's Leading Green Transport Solution Company” and “World's Leading Leisure Car Rental Company” awarded at the World Travel Awards are confirmations of the company’s customer orientation and commitment to environmental protection.
Europcar vehicles can be reserved at www.europcar.de, under the telephone number 0180/58000 (EUR 0.14 per min. from a German landline, and max EUR 0.42 per min. from a mobile phone) and at all Europcar stations.