car2go has announced it will expand its operating area by 63 percent and increase its current network of vehicles by 50 percent to a total of 300 vehicles.
The existing network will be replaced by the world’s first specially developed car sharing production model, the smart “car2go edition”, over the weekend of March 19.
The new vehicle technology will make the rental process even more convenient and environmentally friendly.
Since November 2009, when the service was launched as a pilot program, there have been more than 150,000 rentals with an average of 4,000 rentals per week.
In February 2011, car2go achieved the milestone of 500,000 miles driven.
With more than 15,000 members, 15 percent of the driving population above the age of 18 in the existing operating area are car2go members.
The car2go car-sharing program will expand its service area to more of Austin and will replace its entire fleet later this month.
Approximately 74,000 additional Austinites with driver’s licenses above the age of 18 and a number of local businesses will now be included in the extended operating area.
In addition to the extension of the operating area, car2go will also exchange its current network of 200 smart fortwo vehicles for 300 smart “car2go edition” vehicles.
Together, car2go and smart developed this new generation of vehicles, producing the world’s first vehicle designed specifically for carsharing.
The new-generation technology is completely integrated into the vehicle both visually and technically. Every “car2go edition” is outfitted with new telematics hardware, including a new control unit with a large easy-to-use touchscreen.
Also, the user interface has been completely redesigned and upgraded, making the menu, radio and navigation system easier to use.
The majority of the new car2go vehicles in Austin will also be equipped with a 100-watt solar roof, which is fully integrated with the on-board electronics and serves to supply power to the telematics and continually charges the car’s battery.
Additionally, if the vehicle is parked in the sun, solar energy is used to power the ventilation system that reduces the interior temperature to cool the vehicle, reducing fuel consumption.
Note: Austin is the only U.S. city where car2go operates, although Daimler has said it plans to add more cities this year.