Car2go Upgrades Smart Car Fleet to Mercedes-Benz Vehicles
【Summary】Interestingly, Car2go will maintain its membership fee after the transition. However, the new Mercedes-Benz fleet comes with a higher per-minute rate than the compact smart vehicles.
Car2go is known for its massive fleet of tiny smart cars. The Daimler-owned business offers Smart Fortwo vehicles for car-sharing services in various cities around the US.
Recently, the startup announced it will gradually phase out the compact fleet, trading the cars in for Mercedes-Benz CLA and GLA vehicles. Car2go slowly started the phase out a few months ago. In Austin, the business already swapped out over 300 units for the luxury sedans. It is important to consider that Daimler is also the owner of Mercedes-Benz.
Fleet Upgrade in the Works
In Seattle, the transition is almost complete. Earlier this year, Car2go managed a fleet of 750 smart cars in the area. At the moment, 550 of those units have been switched out. According to the startup, the big move should be finished by the end of this year.
Competition in the urban location is very competitive, which likely contributed to the decision for the fleet overhaul. In the area, ReachNow also offers similar transportation services, with an impressive fleet of BMW cars and MINI Coopers. The city happens to be Car2go's largest market in the country, with over 100,000 customers residing in the location. The business first opened operations in Seattle in 2013.
"We'd love to continue to offer a smart or similar size vehicle again if and when that becomes an option once more," said a Car2go spokesman.
Interestingly, Car2go will maintain its membership fee after the transition. However, the new Mercedes-Benz fleet comes with a higher per-minute rate than the compact smart vehicles. The startup's operations in Denver, Colorado will also receive the upgrade.
Challenges in North America EV Market
Car2Go's strategy strongly revolves around EVs and compact cars. Unfortunately, both elements are having a difficult time thriving in the North American market. Starting with EVs, it seems that the US is creating barriers for adoption, through a recent proposal to remove federal tax credits, amounting to $7,500, for EV purchases. Some senators have spoken out to reassure individuals about preserving the incentive.
The current tax credit scheme for EVs is capped at 200,000 units per manufacturer. Surprisingly, even with lax distribution guidelines, no establishment in the auto industry has maxed out the quota in the country.
"Car2go does operate three successful EV fleets in Europe (Amsterdam, Madrid, and Stuttgart) but they're successful because those cities have infrastructure necessary to operate EV carshare at scale," explained a Car2go official.
"We believe that electric is the future, and when conditions evolve in North American cities we'd be glad to revisit EV carshare in the US and Canada."
As for compact cars, the vehicles are widely popular in populated European and Asian cities. The units, including the Smart Fortwo, allow drivers to execute tight maneuvers around curbs, alleyways and parking lots. Furthermore, due to their small size, drivers can park perpendicularly, with the back of the car facing the sidewalk and the front of the vehicle facing the road.
While tolerated in other countries, US-based law enforcement groups discourage such parking positions.
Michael Cheng is a legal editor and technical writer with publications for Blackberry ISHN Magazine Houzz and Payment Week. He specializes in technology business and digesting hard data. Outside of work Michael likes to train for marathons spend time with his daughter and explore new places.
Waymo Receives Permit to Participate in California’s Autonomous Vehicle Pilot
How Do Autonomous Cars Deal with Double-parked Vehicles?
Kitty Hawk and Boeing Form Partnership to Make Flying Cars Safer
Waymo to Bring Driverless Cars to France and Japan via Nissan-Renault Partnership
Porsche Forecasts EVs Going Mainstream
Zomato Tests Drones for Food Deliveries in India
Alibaba Brings Tmall Genie to Audi, Honda and Renault Vehicles
Driverless Sensor Startup Sense Photonics Raises $26 Million in Series A Funding
- Tesla's Model Y is Now Available to Order Online
- GM’s Luxury Brand Cadillac May Become Fully-Electric by 2030, Exec Says
- SK Innovation Plans to Build a EV Battery Plant in the U.S. to Meet Demand
- Xilinx Announces New High-Performance Adaptive Devices for Autonomous Driving & ADAS Applications
- Despite Push from U.S. Automakers, Bill to Extend EV Tax Credit is Not Expected to Be Included in Year-End Budget Deal
- Hyundai Shows Off a Redesigned Electric IONIQ at the Los Angeles Auto Show
- Tesla to Borrow $1.4 Billion for Shanghai Factory & China Operations
- GM to Revive the Hummer Nameplate as an Electric Pickup & SUV Brand, Sources Say
- Cadillac Expands Super Cruise to More Models, Adds More Features
- BMW i Ventures Invests in AutoFi, a San Francisco-based Vehicle Financing Startup