by Adrian Dorofte and Adrian Andronic
e-mail: mercedesbenzblog@gmail.com

Emotions instead of emissions: car2go thrills Stuttgart

People in Stuttgart can now drive cars completely electrically for 29 cents per minute. Daimler today launched its car2go mobility concept in its “home town,” using vehicles equipped solely with electric drive systems. car2go is operating Germany’s biggest all-electric fleet in Stuttgart, encompassing a total of 300 battery-electric smart brand cars. EnBW will set up 500 charging points throughout the city and its surrounding region until end of 2013 so that drivers can recharge electricity from renewable sources of energy.

“car2go offers affordable electric mobility for everyone. Thanks to car2go, people in Stuttgart can see for themselves that electric drive systems are suited for everyday use,” said Daimler CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche at the mobility concept’s official launch in the New Palace of Baden-Württemberg’s capital city. “With the launch of car2go in Stuttgart, Daimler is once again underscoring its innovation leadership with regard to new mobility concepts and new technologies.”

Residents and visitors of Stuttgart can now travel in an electric car at any time and on the spur of the moment. On their smartphones or the Internet, customers can see where the nearest unoccupied car2go vehicle is located. Using their membership cards, drivers can open the vehicle without any prior booking and lock the door again once their trip is over. Customers can leave car2go vehicles standing at any public parking lot within the 75-square-kilometer service area, which is scheduled to be expanded next year to include selected regions in the greater Stuttgart area.

The LivingLab for zero-emission driving

The launch of car2go is the first milestone in Baden-Württemberg’s “Living Lab BWe mobil” showcase program for electric mobility. As part of this program, numerous projects funded by the federal and state governments will kick off in the coming weeks. The project partners of car2go are the state of Baden-Württemberg, the city of Stuttgart, EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG, and Stuttgarter Straßenbahnen AG.

At the press conference in the New Palace, Baden-Württemberg Premier Winfried Kretschmann emphasized the significance of electric drive systems for environmental protection and for Baden-Württemberg as a business location. “With its new concepts and a public infrastructure, electric mobility is taking off right where the automobile was originally invented,” he said.
“The charging stations that were set up with the help of the state can now be used for all electric vehicles. Environmentally friendly driving has thus become more convenient in Stuttgart than anywhere else in Germany. That makes us exemplary and a showcase for electric mobility in the best sense of the word. It demonstrates once again that southwestern Germany is seizing the initiative.”

Stuttgart Mayor Dr. Wolfgang Schuster had the following to say: “The mobility system of the future will be socially responsible, environmentally friendly, and conducive to economic growth. What we’re talking about here is affordable mobility for everyone - with much lower resource consumption and, above all, less fossil energy use, as well as less air pollution and noise. Stuttgart therefore needs to seize the opportunity to become a center of electric mobility.” The city is also moving ahead with numerous other measures within the framework of the showcase project. Among other things, plans call for car2go to be linked with other municipal transportation services, in particular with the Stuttgarter Straßenbahnen AG (SSB) public transport company.

“Electric cars need a comprehensive, functional and customer-friendly charging infrastructure. This means they simply need energy, which we are supplying for car2go vehicles and many other electric cars on Stuttgart’s streets,” said Dr. Frank Mastiaux, Chairman of EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG, about the importance of the charging infrastructure.

Electric driving for 29 cents per minute

The use of a fully electric smart two-seater in Stuttgart costs the same as a drive with a gasoline-powered vehicle at other car2go locations: 29 euro cents per minute of driving - a price that also includes taxes, insurance, and electricity for the first 20 kilometers traveled. There are no parking fees, and when drivers pull over and stop their cars, the price falls to nine cents per parked minute. The discounted hourly and daily flat rates are €12.90 and €39, respectively.

As is the case in other cities, Stuttgart’s car2go service is jointly organized by Daimler's car2go subsidiary and the Europcar vehicle rental company. Registration is required, but the process can easily be completed at the car2go shop (Stephanstraße 25) and at the Europcar outlets on Friedrichstraße, in the main train station, and in Vaihingen and Bad Cannstatt. Public transport customers can use car2go by obtaining a mobility pass at a Stuttgarter Straßenbahnen AG (SSB) customer center. Registration for car2go will remain free of charge until the end of the year - and all new customers will also be credited 30 minutes of free driving. Moreover, customers from car2go’s other German locations in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Hamburg, and Ulm can use their membership cards to access the service in Stuttgart without any need for further registration. Conversely, Stuttgart car2go customers can drive the white and blue cars in the cities mentioned above without any additional formalities.

car2go - a pioneer and a world market leader for flexible carsharing

When car2go was first tested by Daimler in 2008, it simultaneously established a new segment for flexible carsharing services. With its launch in Stuttgart, car2go is now available in 16 cities in Europe and North America. The company currently has around 250,000 customers - more than four times as many as were registered at the beginning of the year. As a result, car2go is now the fastest-growing carsharing company in the world. A car2go vehicle is rented around once every four seconds on average around the globe. This mobility concept will be available in more than 50 cities worldwide by the middle of the decade. Daimler’s car2go GmbH subsidiary is part of the Group’s Financial Services division (Daimler Financial Services AG).

The Stuttgart car2go system is also operated by car2go Deutschland GmbH, a joint venture between the Daimler subsidiary car2go GmbH and the Europcar vehicle rental company. car2go customers who apply for a Europcar partner card can also rent vehicles from the company’s entire product range at a special discounted rate. More specifically, the partner card grants customers a 15 percent discount on Europcar’s best available daily rate, thus ideally complementing car2go whenever a smart fortwo would be insufficient for tasks such as long-distance trips or transporting bulky loads.

Comprehensive charging station coverage

Operation of the fully electric car2go fleet is made possible by an extensive and publicly accessible charging infrastructure that is being established by EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG as part of the showcase project. car2go customers and all other drivers of electric vehicles can now recharge their cars at around 300 charging points. The charging stations’ locations were jointly selected by the city and the district advisory councils. EnBW will increase the number of charging stations in Stuttgart and the surrounding region to 500 by the end of 2013. The electricity supplied to the electric vehicles is produced exclusively from renewable energy sources. The smart fortwo car2go models have a range of up to 140 kilometers; the average trip taken with the vehicles ranges from five to 15 kilometers. Customers are automatically requested to proceed to a charging station whenever their vehicle’s battery charge drops below a certain level.

car2go and “moovel”

The use of electric drives isn’t the only thing that sets car2go in Stuttgart apart from the rest, as the concept was completely integrated into Daimler’s “moovel” mobility platform from the very beginning. moovel itself has been undergoing testing in Stuttgart since July 2012 and in Berlin since the end of October. The system’s user-friendly app allows customer to compare different mobility options and thus determine the optimal way to get from Point A to Point B.

moovel provides information about both private and public transport. In Stuttgart, it therefore includes data from Stuttgarter Straßenbahnen AG (SSB), Verkehrs- und Tarifverbund Stuttgart GmbH (VVS), and the strategic partner carpooling.com GmbH (mitfahrgelegenheit.de). Beginning today, the moovel app also shows car2go vehicles that are available for immediate reservation near any given location.




Credits: Daimler AG

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