In the Southern German city of Ulm Daimler AG has realised a new mobility concept that makes driving a car as easy as using a mobile phone. The principle of the fittingly named car2go project: anyone who needs a car can rent one of the smart fortwo cdis distributed around the city spontaneously around the clock or pre-book it online or with a mobile phone. Customers can use a vehicle for as long as they want and then simply leave it at any free parking space within the operating area at the end of the rental period. In areas with a shortage of parking spaces or managed parking facilities such as Ulmcity centre, there are also numerous specially marked car2go parking spaces.
The simple rental principle goes hand in hand with a clear cost structure: hiring a vehicle costs 19 cents per minute. Tax, insurance, miles travelled and even the fuel are included in this price. Attractive flat rates apply for longer rental periods. An hour costs €9.90, a day costs €49.
All that customers have to do to use the mobility service is to register once free of charge. A small seal is then affixed to their driving licence. This enables every car2go vehicle to be opened with a card reader behind the windscreen.
car2go was launched as a public pilot project in Ulmin March 2009. All registered citizens and visitors to the city can use a fleet of 200 blue and white smart fortwo cdis. More than 10,000 customers, some 10 per cent of all holders of driving licenses in Ulm, have registered to date with a rising trend. Customers can register online at www.car2go.com
or in the car2go shop at the Stadthaus in Ulm, next to Ulmcathedral. The car2go seal for driving licences is also issued here.
However, the pilot project in Ulmis not the end of the story - international expansion of the concept was planned right from the start. Numerous enquiries have already been received from cities around the world that also want to offer car2go to their residents. At the end of this year Daimler will venture abroad with car2go and will launch the project in Austin, Texas. From the autumn of 2009 a fleet expected to comprise of 200 smart fortwos will take to the roads there.
With a population of approximately 750,000 the Texan capital is much larger
than Ulm. It is characterised by its open-mindedness and its extremely committed and active citizens. "We are really pleased to be the first international partner of car2go" says Mayor Will Wynn. "Our city is well known for its commitment to environmental issues and car2go is a perfect fit because it enables us to offer the citizens of Austinan intelligent mobility concept with an extremely positive environmental angle. The project has our full support."
car2go is a further important element in Daimler's strategy on the way to sustainable mobility. car2go will also be presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show.