San Diego – On Saturday, Car2Go launched in San Diego at an exhibition at the corner of W. Broadway and Pacific Highway. Car2Go is a shared car program in which people can enroll for $35 and then have access to Car2Go electric “Smart Cars” strategically parked through out a large operating area in the city. Car2Go is a venture of Daimler, the maker of Mercedes Benz. San Diego is only the third city in the Americas to host the program. The other American cities include only Austin and Vancouver. The European cities are Amsterdam, Hamburg, Lyon, Ulm, and Wien. San Diego was selected in large part due to the efforts of Mayor Jerry Sanders, as well as the nodal layout of the city, according to its San Diego Director, Will Berry (formerly Director the Downtown’s Clean & Safe Program). Saturday’s event involved test drives, food, music, and a game in which the prize was free driving coupons. Other features of the program include:
- Members receive magnetic access cards and PINs which allow them use of the cars.
- Cars can be reserved in advance or spontaneously accessed by enrolled members.
- A computer and phone application which interacts with GPS locators in the cars, shows the location of the nearest available cars.
- Usage is charged by the minute (35 cents), the hour ($12.99), or the day ($65.99).
- A member simply uses a member card to access the car, takes a key out of the holder, then places it in the ignition to drive.
- Cars can be left in any 1-2 hour city parking spot in the operating area. There will also be special reserved Car2Go spots through out the operating area. Fees stop as soon as a car is left in a spot with the key placed back in the dashboard holder. On the other hand, during an intermediate stop, e.g., on a shopping trip, the member need simply take the key with her/him.
- Cars can be driven outside the operating area as long as they are returned to the operating area. However, they need not be returned to any particular location in the operating area.
- Cars have a driving range of approximately 82 miles between charges.
- Meter parking is free for Car2Go drivers.
- The cars are two seaters. Passengers may include children, with the necessary child restraint systems, but not pets.
- Smoking is not allowed.
- Insurance is included in the Car2Go membership.
- A current promotion waives the initial $35 enrollment fee. (At the time of this author’s enrollment, the coupon code was “PLUG-IN” – or was it “PLUGIN”?)
For more information, please visit the Car2Go website at www.car2go.com