"We’re proud that car2go has chosen to launch the first North American all-electric carsharing service in San Diego," said San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders. "car2go’s launch here further supports our efforts to make San Diego the nation’s electric vehicle capital."
The all-electric car2go program in San Diego is going to start operations before the end of 2011 with 300 smart fortwo electric drive vehicles.
"The launch of an all electric vehicle fleet marks a new era in carsharing in North America," said Nicholas Cole, President and CEO of car2go N. A. LLC. "San Diego is a forward-thinking city determined to meet future transportation demands of its residents. Our goal is to complement the existing transportation infrastructure by providing an emission-free carsharing service for short and spontaneous one-way trips."
All smart fortwo electric drive cars will be equipped with the latest car2go telematics technology, allowing fully automated, easy and convenient rental operations. As the world’s first free-floating carsharing service, car2go provides its members with the possibility to rent the cars spontaneously without having the burden to commit to a specific return time or location.
The car2go program is already very successful in four cities with a total of more than 40,000 members and 1,000 smart fortwo vehicles with low-emission gas engines.
"Right from the beginning, the smart fortwo was designed for electric drive and that now shows," says Dr. Annette Winkler, Head of smart. "I love driving the smart electric drive and I am convinced that the car2go members in California will enjoy using this forward technology to get around their home town San Diego – a new method of transportation both pleasing to the ear and the environment."
The smart fortwo electric drive is powered by a 30 kW electric propulsion system. It is economical, quiet and emissions-free. In San Diego, the high-efficiency lithium-ion batteries can be recharged at designated EV charging stations. On a single charge, the car can travel up to 84 miles. Battery recharging time from 20 percent to 80 percent of battery full capacity is just three and a half hours. Recharging a completely discharged battery takes no more than eight hours, which makes it possible to recharge overnight. Past experience shows that this is seldom necessary, as the daily stretch covered by car2go drivers in urban areas rarely exceeds 6 miles.
"By being the first to make an all-electric network of vehicles easily accessible for thousands of people, we are revolutionizing carsharing and creating the future of urban transportation," says Cole.
The electric car2go vehicles will be charged at Blink EV charging stations developed by California-based technology provider 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 installed by end of 2011 for public use in San Diego.
"Innovative carsharing programs like car2go’s service are pivotal to encouraging the mainstream adoption of electric vehicles," said Jonathan Read, CEO of ECOtality. "As we deploy approximately 1,000 Blink charging stations in the San Diego region as part of The EV Project, we are creating the robust public infrastructure necessary for car2go’s program to succeed. Together, we will show that EVs are a perfect fit for the lifestyle of San Diego drivers."
The electric car2go service in San Diego will be operated by car2go N. A. LLC. Further details of the service such as business area, parking and charging concept as well as start of customer registrations, will be announced in the near future.