Daimler Launches First US Electric Car-Sharing Program

Daimler is launching the first electric vehicle car sharing service in North America through its Car2go subsidiary.

The all-electric Car2go program will start in San Diego, California, before the end of 2011 with 300 of Daimler’s Smart Fortwo electric drive vehicles.

Car2go bills itself as the first "free-floating car-sharing service" – members will be able to rent cars spontaneously without having to commit to a specific return time or location.

Car2go already has 40,000 members in four cities sharing 1,000 smart fortwo vehicles that have low-emission gas engines. The new San Diego operation will add a fifth city and a 100% electric fleet.

All Smart Fortwo electric cars will be equipped with Car2go’s telematics technology, allowing fully automated, easy and convenient rental operations.

On a single charge, the Fortwo can travel up to 84 miles. Its battery can be recharged to 20-80% of full capacity in just three and a half hours.

Although it takes about eight hours to charge a completely discharged battery, that’s rarely necessary. Car2go drivers in urban areas usually drive no more than 6 miles, the company says.

"The launch of an electric vehicle fleet marks a new era in carsharing in North America," says Nicholas Cole, President and CEO of car2go N. A. "Our goal is to complement the existing transportation infrastructure by providing an emission- free car-sharing service for short and spontaneous one-way trips."

The electric car2go vehicles will be charged at Blink EV charging stations developed by California-based ECOtality. The company is currently in the process of siting and installing the charging stations, and approximately 1,000 Blink commercial charging stations are expected to be ready by end of 2011 for public use in San Diego.

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