On May 21, the company will hold a public launch event that will allow users to register for a car2go membership, or pick up their membership cars if they had previously pre-registered. The ceremony will be held in Republic Square Park at Guadalupe and 5th street.
Car2go, a Daimler subsidiary, debuted a pilot program with the city of Austin in November last year, allowing all car2go members to use street parking in downtown Austin free of charge. The project will now be extended until November 2010.
The car2go program was introduced in Germany in October 2008, in the city of ULM. In November 2009, it was brought to the U.S. as an experimental project in Austin, Texas.
Its American version offers a fleet of 200 smart fortwo vehicles that can be used 24/7. These can be accessed on demand and used for an undetermined period of time. In addition to that, it also allows users can to make one way trips. It uses an original payment system, charging users for the time in which they use the car, instead of the distance traveled.
Reservations are made using a pre-paid mobile phone card system, only allowing the driver to rent a smart using his license, with the vehicles parked at random locations throughout the city. The fleet is equipped with windshield driver license readers that the drivers use for unlocking the vehicles.
"Partnering with the City of Austin and our other beta user groups has been a tremendous success,” said Nicholas Cole, President and CEO of car2go N.A. LLC. “We have been able to use the pilot program to gather practical experience in order to ensure that car2go is a mobility solution that will exceed our customers’ expectations. We look forward to opening car2go to all Austin residents and providing everyone a progressive solution to getting around this great city.”