Can a small car like he Smart fortwo make a big change in urban transportation? That’s what the new Daimler AG venture, car2go, is betting on.
The project, which has been operating in pilot mode for several years, is ready to roll out in full business mode, on Friday, in Austin, Texas. Company officials say they’re already looking at expansion opportunities in as many as 100 cities in North America and Europe. (See Car Sharing Meets Austin City Limits)
On the surface, car2go could be dismissed as just another way to rent a car – in this case the pint-sized Smart fortwo 2-seater. But the idea behind the venture, which first went into testing in the German city of Ulm, in 2008, is to both supplement users of mass transit and provide the occasional set of wheels for urban dwellers who might not own a vehicle of their own, company officials explained during a news conference in Austin, on Thursday.
The Texas capital has served as a test sight for the U.S. market, car2goNA partnering with the city government and signing on a small group of other residents to test the concept.