Austin, Texas, Mar 07, 2011
- car2go expands operating area in Austin, Texas
- Vehicle network will be increased to 300 and replaced by smart “car2go edition”
- Fleet exchange will take place midnight March 18 through 5 p.m. March 20
(AUSTIN, Texas) – Today, car2go N.A. LLC announced it will expand its operating area by 63 percent and increase its current network of vehicles by 50 percent to a total of 300 vehicles. The existing network will be replaced by the world’s first specially developed carsharing production model, the smart “car2go edition”, over the weekend of March 19. The new vehicle technology will make the rental process even more convenient and environmentally friendly.
“We knew Austin was going to be a great city for car2go when we started receiving requests to expand our operating area the first week we launched,” said Nicholas Cole, President and CEO of car2go N.A. LLC. “Today, we are excited to give our members what they’ve asked for by expanding our operating area to a total of 52 square miles and increasing our current network of vehicles.”
Since November 2009, when the service was launched as a pilot program, there have been more than 150,000 rentals with an average of 4,000 rentals per week. In February 2011, car2go achieved the milestone of 500,000 miles driven. With more than 15,000 members, 15 percent of the driving population above the age of 18 in the existing operating area are car2go members.
The new operating area extends the south border to Ben White Boulevard / 71 while the southwest border will follow 360 to Mopac. The northwest border will follow Lake Austin Boulevard to 35th Street back to Mopac up to Far West Boulevard then to Mesa Drive onto Steck Avenue and then Anderson Lane. The north border will extend to Anderson Lane / 183. The already broad east border will remain the same. Approximately 74,000 additional Austinites with drivers licenses above the age of 18 and a number of local businesses will now be included in the extended operating area.
In addition to the extension of the operating area, car2go will also exchange its current network of 200 smart fortwo vehicles for 300 smart “car2go edition” vehicles. Together, car2go and smart developed this new generation of vehicles, producing the world’s first vehicle designed specifically for carsharing. The new-generation technology is completely integrated into the vehicle both visually and technically. Every “car2go edition” is outfitted with new telematics hardware, including a new control unit with a large easy-to-use touchscreen. Also, the user interface has been completely redesigned and upgraded, making the menu, radio and navigation system easier to use.
“Our new technology makes car2go stand out even more from the solutions offered by traditional carsharing companies. It is setting the new standard for shared-use vehicles,” said Helmuth Ritzer, car2go Chief Technology Officer. “The new hardware and software platform allow us to provide new in-car services in the future. As new features become available, the fleet will be automatically updated over-the-air.”
The majority of the new car2go vehicles in Austin will also be equipped with a 100-watt solar roof, which is fully integrated with the on-board electronics and serves to supply power to the telematics and continually charges the car’s battery. Additionally, if the vehicle is parked in the sun, solar energy is used to power the ventilation system that reduces the interior temperature to cool the vehicle, reducing fuel consumption.
In order to exchange the entire network of vehicles and expand the operating area, the current fleet will be replaced from midnight on Friday, March 18th until 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 20, 2011. During this time, the Austin network of car2go will be temporarily unavailable for use. Members using car2go vehicles on Friday, March 18 are requested to complete rentals prior to midnight. The new network of cars will be available after 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 20. From that time on, car2go members need to use the new blue member card, which they will receive in the mail this week.
Members can visit http://www.austincar2go.com to get the latest news as well as view a tutorial video about the new “car2go edition” vehicles. Members with questions or concerns can visit the car2go Austin office anytime Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and Saturday between 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. or call our customer call center at 877.488.4224 anytime. The car2go office will also be open with extended hours during March 18, 19 and 20 to assist with any questions.
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