First Canadian car2go car-sharing program to launch in Vancouver


April 28, 2011

The first Canadian car2go car-sharing program is about to be launched in the city of Vancouver

The first Canadian car2go car-sharing program is about to be launched in the city of Vancouver

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After first launching in Ulm, Germany in 2008, then subsequently establishing operations in Austin (Texas) and Hamburg, the car2go car-sharing program is now coming to Canada. As of this June, registered members of Vancouver, British Columbia's car2go group will be able to use any of the 225 purpose-designed Smart Fortwos in the local fleet, which can be picked up and dropped off at designated parking spots throughout the city.

As is the case with the car2go vehicles in Germany and the U.S., each of the petrol-powered Canadian cars has a solar panel built into its roof. Electricity generated by that panel allows the alternator to be decoupled while driving, which is said to reduce fuel consumption by as much as 10 percent. The panel also charges the battery, runs the fan while the car is parked in the sun, and powers an onboard telemetrics system. That system allows users to activate the car by entering their PIN on a dashboard touchscreen, and also keeps track of things such as location and distance traveled.

Members can reserve cars, or simply jump in any available vehicle as they need it – a smartphone app, telephone service or the local car2go website will direct them to the nearest one. When finished with the vehicle, they simply leave it at the closest permit-only or assigned car2go parking space. Charges are based on the amount of time that the car is driven, at a rate of 35 cents a minute, although hourly and daily rates work out to less.

Vancouver is currently working towards a goal of becoming the world's greenest city by 2020, and the adoption of car2go is part of that initiative. Interested Vancouverites can pre-register for the service starting today, through the car2go Vancouver website.

There are currently over 35,000 car2go members in Ulm and Austin, with another operation set to open in Amsterdam later this year.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

Good idea!

Bernie Keller

Another failed project. I can\'t think of a single reason why this might be successful. Its just a government funded money pit that no one will care about and will be canceled with out anyone even noticing. You have to love government corruption.

Michael Mantion

I am curious as to why Mr. Mantion would assert that car2go is a government funded project. It is fairly easy to ascertain on its website that it is owned (and presumably funded by) Daimler, not any government. In fact they offer free driving time to the government of Texas (in return for free parking spaces).

One further finds that there were a total of 235,000 rentals in the first year in Germany, at an average fee of $15, from members including a third of registered drivers age 18 to 35 (and 10% of the entire population of Ulm). Failed project? Hmmmm.

Jayna Sheats

Good idea only if it was an EV! Or, even a bicycle-sharing is a better idea than to put another ICE on the road. Also this \"government corruption\" style comment doesn\'t belong here in Gizmag.


There is also a similar project in Québec called Communauto:

And Mr. Mantion, the program really works here... No money pit...

Huge Bone

What is the biggest constraint for cars in citys... parking space. Instead of using a car once or twice a day and locking up parking in a city with private cars occupying spaces, this concept allows the same parking spaces to provide between 10x and 30x as much personal mobility within cities. What does it cost - from what I have seen, the cost to hire cars for typical short trips around the city can be covered by savings in parking fees. You could argue that the City is subsidising the service by for-going parking fees, but the City gets the advantage that the spaces allocated are then used far more effectively for the the mobility of its citizens. The enabling technology of smartphones and gps is the difference making this work where earlier car sharing schemes have had limited success and enlightened Cities will be competing in the near future to attract larger commercial car sharing programs that starting to emerge.


Car2Go is a huge hit here in Austin, Tx. I see these tiny white and blue Smart FourTwos EVERYWHERE around town, especially around UT Austin campus. This idea is perfect for college students and people who can\'t justify the expence of owning their own car. The only way it could be better is if there were more of them available, and if Car2Go was in more cities. Another great addition would be a bike rack on top so customers could ride their bikes to pick their cars up, and to get home if avalable parking is sparce. I love the idea of them being EVs but the infrastructure just is not in place to implement an idea like that. If they were hybrids, that would be a good first step to the inevitable (yes inevitable) EV takeover of the auto market. If people would do their research, they would find out that some of the first automobiles were battery electric anyway, so why not go back to the original idea?

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