Three-hundred two-seater electric cars are set to arrive in Amsterdam by end of November for car2go, a car-sharing service that provides short, spontaneous one-way trips using electric vehicles from smart. The cars will rent for 29 cents (40 cents U.S.) per minute. Customers will not have to return the cars to a fixed rental office, and most of the time they won’t have to recharge them, either, the company says.
Car2go is a subsidiary of smart-maker Daimler. The company says that Amsterdam is the fifth city with a car2go service, but the first in Europe with an all-electric fleet. The city has 250 electric vehicle charging stations that use only energy from renewable resources, so the car2go fleet of zero-emission cars will improve air quality, and the little two-seaters will save space in the city center.
Customers can drive with their car2go everywhere during the rental period, but must return to finish the rental in the “business area” – some 80 square kilometers (50 square miles), covering large parts of the city within the highway belt plus two suburban hubs. The vehicles can be picked up and dropped off at any public parking spot inside the business area or at marked parking spots in six “Q-Park” garages in the city center.
Users won’t need to end the rental every time at a charging station – unless the battery charge level is lower than 20 percent. In that case, the car must be parked at a nearby charging station. These are displayed in the on-board navigation. If the battery level is lower than 40 percent, drivers will receive 10 free minutes for recharging the car. The charging does not need to be completed before a car2go can be rented again; if there is a minimum 50 percent state of charge, the vehicle is available for the next customer.
All 300 smart electric drive vehicles are equipped with telematics technology, allowing fully automated, easy rental operations, the company says, so that customers can rent the cars spontaneously without having to commit to a specific return time or location.
The cars have a lithium-ion traction battery, automatic transmission and a range of 135 km (84 miles). On board are air-conditioning, a radio and a navigation system.
Amsterdam’s new car2go pricing model will be also introduced in other existing and future European car2go cities. Beyond the 29-cent minute rental rate, the hourly rental rate will be €12.90 ($17.51) and there will be a 24-hour rate of €39 ($53). Insurance, taxes, electricity and parking costs are all included in this price.
The car2go program is already said to be very successful in the German cities of Ulm and Hamburg, plus Austin, Texas, and Vancouver, B.C., with San Diego due to get service before the end of the year. The average duration of a car2go rental is between 15 and 60 minutes and the average range lies between 5 and 10 kilometers.