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car2go world first: dedicated car sharing vehicles straight from the factory

By

September 30, 2010

Daimler's car2go edition smart fortwo

Daimler's car2go edition smart fortwo

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Last year in the German city of Ulm, Daimler started up an experimental car-sharing system called car2go. It incorporated a fleet of 50 smart fortwos, that users could pick up in various locations, drive as long as they wanted, and then leave within the city. Ulm’s program is now up to 20,000 members and 200 cars, while a younger sister project in Austin, Texas, is up to 10,000 members. Given that success, Daimler has just announced a new “car2go edition” of the fortwo, designed specifically for use in the program. We got a look, at the 2010 Paris Motor Show.

The car2go system allows cars to be spontaneously rented on-the-spot, or booked up to 24 hours in advance via a mobile phone or the Internet. No human contact or paperwork was necessary – available cars could be located through the web or by telephone, an electronic chip added to members’ licenses would unlock the car, the driver would then enter their PIN, drive way, and receive a monthly bill for each minute of use.

The new car2go edition fortwos are based on the smart fortwo mhd, and marks a switch from diesel to petrol for the program. Another thing that distinguishes the car2go edition is its large touchscreen control unit, which is part of the new telematics hardware that is optimized for the program.

As the press release states:

The telematics unit is networked directly with the vehicle electronics, which means it can also control the immobilizer: when the customer starts the rental process with his or her access authorization and enters a PIN number, the immobilizer is deactivated and later, once the rental is over, it is immediately activated again. The user interface has also been completely redesigned: both the menu and the integrated radio and navigation system have been clearly upgraded, are even more convenient to use, and are in keeping with the car2go design.

Daimler's car2go edition smart fortwo

Another interesting feature is the 100 Watt solar panel on the roof, which is fully integrated into the onboard electronics. It will supply power to the telematics, charge the battery, and run the ventilation system when the car is parked in the sun. It will also allow the alternator to be decoupled while driving, which should reportedly reduce fuel consumption by up to 10 percent. Fuel will also be saved via an automatic start-stop system, which turns off the engine when the car isn’t moving.

The car2go edition's touchscreen control unit

Other car2go-specific features include tougher seats and rims, a more secure storage space for the key, and built-in slots to hold access cards.

Daimler is currently looking at starting up more car2go programs in various European and North American cities, with roll-out set to take place from the first quarter of 2011 onwards.

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
7 Comments

Bring this to Melbourne!

Bill Dimarelos
1st October, 2010 @ 04:24 am PDT

They should be using real cars and not the piece of junk, ersatz car, the Smart, which I would not even sit in.

Gyula Bognar Jr
1st October, 2010 @ 06:58 am PDT

Gyula, You don't HAVE to sit in it!

Terotech
1st October, 2010 @ 09:54 am PDT

I sat in a Smart-for-two at the showroom, I liked it! The seating area was roomier than my Dodge Grand Caravan. I also sat in an AMG SL-500 (it was a Mercedes dealership) and it was downright cramped in comparison. In fact, I'd rather drive any smart car than any SL-500 supercar simply because the AMGs are so unforgiving. My current car is a Cadillac Eldorado ETC, the Smart is nowhere near as refined but I think it's a good capable people mover. I'd really like to try an Aptera, if/when they ever get into volume production.

Grunchy
1st October, 2010 @ 11:40 am PDT

The only part that makes me sad is they dropped the diesel! Whats up with that? If any country needs more diesel, it's America. I love diesel! (could you tell?)

Will, the tink
1st October, 2010 @ 01:47 pm PDT

Gyula:

The Smart is rubbish, but you've never so much as sat in one.

I see.

Neil
1st October, 2010 @ 10:16 pm PDT

i'm intellectually frustrated by the evolution of these transportation devices!

'I think' they are working toward a personal 'Lazy-boy-chair' with drink holders, remote controls, magazine racks, TV screens, internet access.....etc.

And nobody seems to 'get it' as they continue to reduce the size, speed, and increase

comfort, facilities, and access.

A constant problem of mine, being smarter than everyone else.....sigh.

Facebook User
2nd October, 2010 @ 10:23 am PDT
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