Instead of seeing a stall of bicycles for rent, what we could be seeing soon is a garage of green cars for rent! You may think this is only possible in small cities, but Hamburg and Amsterdam are set to prove everybody wrong.
To make things clear, the car sharing system is not at the stage of an experiment: i’s working fine since 2008 in Ulm, Germany and since last year in Austin, Texas. Tha’s why, after seeing the results, Daimler is trying out the system this month on a more than 1 million population city: Hamburg, Germany.
The car2go vehicles have a petrol engine, an automatic start/stop system and new generation telematics connected to the car’s electronics. Now the really smart thing about this car is the solar roof! 100 watts of solar power go to the telematics and ventilation system and charge the car’s battery while driving. This way, the driver saves on fuel consumption, because the alternator will be decoupled all the way.
The second stage of this project is to introduce it to Amsterdam before the end of 2011. This is a trickier step, since the population is bigger than Hamburg’s. This time round, 300 vehicles will be all electric drive smart fortwo’s.
The city will thus go down in history as the first location to have an all electric car2go fleet ever. At the same time, Daimler plans to make available 300 facilities where drivers can charge them – each car with its own charging station! – before expanding them to 1,000 by 2012.
Robert Henrich, car2go‘s CEO sees the bigger picture of the project, adapting it to the Amsterdam’s urban culture: “We see ourselves as another puzzle piece in the mix of Amsterdam’s different means of urban transportation.” So far, records show that more than 35,000 people have rented the 600 cars available in Ulm and Austin, the first of them with a figure of 4 to 8 people renting a car per day.