Monday, March 30, 2009

First U.S. site for Smart car2go concept is Austin, Texas

It might be the oil-rich state, but Texas will be the first U.S. home for Daimler’s innovative, environmentally aware car2go pay-as-you-go city-transport concept.
The concept has just moved from the pilot phase to a full-time business for the 120,000 residents of Ulm, Germany, and Daimler has announced that 200 car2go Smart Fortwos will flood downtown Austin this fall.
This isn’t the first car-sharing scheme in the United States, but it might be one of the simplest, and it’s backed by the auto industry’s oldest name. Daimler’s idea for car2go is to make driving through traffic-clogged cities as cheap as talking on a mobile phone.
Loosely based on Paris’s noted Velib city bicycle system, Ulm dwellers or visitors can drive away in any car2go vehicle for 19 cents a minute by showing the car a chip attached to their licenses.
“The idea is that when you want a car, you just take it, and when you’ve finished with the car, you just leave it,” car2go project manager Robert Henrich, said. He said it’s a free-flowing system and you never have to return the car to where you picked it up. “So if you want to cross the city, you just take a car, cross the city and then leave it.”

Source: AutoWeek - Read full article here.

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