"Invest Toronto was central to our planning process. We would not be here without the valuable insights and guidance of their dedicated forward-thinking staff. We're confident everyone will find car2go an easy, cost-effective and environmentally responsible way to get around Toronto. Thank you very much for your support". – William Knapp, COO, car2go Canada Ltd.
In 2008, Daimler introduced a new mobility concept called car2go, based on the company's 'smart fortwo' vehicles, which are the most fuel-efficient, non-hybrid cars on the road. Unlike traditional car-sharing programs, car2go is not station-based. A fleet of car2go cars are located throughout a specified zone and can be accessed "on-demand". Members may use the vehicles at any time, without committing to a specific return time. The driver can then complete the rental by leaving the car in any available designated parking space within the operating area. Charges are based on minutes used and include fuel, insurance, maintenance and parking.
car2go is originally from Germany, and their North American operations are based in Austin, Texas. In November 2011, car2go launched the world's largest all-electric vehicle car-sharing network in the cities of San Diego, California, and Amsterdam, Netherlands, with the deployment of 300 smart fortwo electric drive vehicles in each city. Currently, there are more than 100,000 car2go members worldwide.
They are now fully operational in the following cities: Austin, Texas; Vancouver, British Columbia; Toronto, Ontario; Calgary, Alberta; Miami, Florida; San Diego, California; Washington, D.C.; Portland, Oregon; Ulm, Germany; Hamburg, Germany; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Vienna, Austria; Dusseldorf, Germany; and Berlin, Germany.
A New Way to Carshare car2go provides an entirely new way of carsharing that gives members 24/7 access to a free-floating network of smart fortwo cars. It differs from traditional carshare or car rental companies, particularly in these three areas:
- BY THE MINUTE: Members pay only for the time they use the car, by the minute, with discounted rates for hourly and daily use. There is no minimum amount of time that a car can be used. Whether they need a car for 10 minutes or an entire day, members simply get in and drive, for as long as they want without having to commit to a specific return time or location. Parking, fuel, maintenance and insurance are included at no additional cost, and there are no annual or monthly fees.
- ON DEMAND: Members can use the first available car2go they find, via a smartphone app, via the car2go vehicle finder at car2go.com, by calling the customer call center, or by simply locating an available car2go. Reservations are not required because with car2go, members have unrestricted and unlimited access to car2go vehicles 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- FREE-FLOATING: Members can pick up and drop off a car2go anywhere within the car2go Home Area in an authorized Green P, Target Park or Toronto University parking area. They can simply drive the car for as long as they need it, park the car in one of the designated parking areas, and end the rental by swiping the card on the windshield reader. Instantly the car becomes available for the next member to use.
Invest Toronto was initially introduced to car2go by the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation's (MEDI) Business Development Representative based in Germany. On their first visit to Toronto in July of 2011, Invest Toronto arranged a roundtable for car2go with representatives from the MEDI, Toronto's Energy Efficiency Office and Toronto's Transportation Services department. During their second visit to Toronto, car2go met with a number of private parking lots, the University of Toronto's parking authorities and representatives from the City's car-sharing pilot program. Invest Toronto also facilitated meetings with the Toronto Parking Authority (TPA), Councillor Thompson of Economic Development and Councillor Milczyn of City Planning. These conversations lead to an agreement between car2go and the TPA, the University of Toronto and a number of private lots.
car2go's original plan for Toronto was to cooperate with Toronto's existing public transportation system, establish an economic agreement to pay for parking and support the needed infrastructure for fully electric vehicles. They have been able to achieve many of their goals, and have opened a sales and administrative office at King and Bathurst. They have hired one location manager and one marketing and communications coordinator in addition to 5 other staff. This number is expected to grow as the business gains momentum. They have also sub-contracted out their fleet repair/maintenance locally. Daimler's brand recognition and international presence, as well as support for this project, makes this a great opportunity for Toronto – one that could spark a valuable relationship on which Invest Toronto can build on to pursue future investments.
For more information or to register to become a member of car2go, please visit Toronto.car2go.com, follow @car2goToronto on Twitter or become a fan of car2go on Facebook at www.facebook.com/car2go.Toronto.
For media inquires, please contact:
Katie Stafford, car2go Canada Ltd.