Car2Go: New car-rental service comes to Vancouver


From the Vancouver Sun – April 27, 2011

By Gillian Shaw

Starting today, Vancouver becomes the first city in Canada to become
host to Daimler’s car2go, a car-sharing service that makes Smart Cars
available at rental rates that start per minute.

The launch, which
comes after a limited trial last fall among some Vancouver businesses
and non-profit organizations, marks car2go’s second foray into North
America after the company expanded its service from Europe to Austin,
Texas, in late 2009.

Unlike services such as Zipcar or Vancouver’s
Modo – The Car Co-op, which offer rentals by the hour after which cars
must be returned to their pickup location, car2go lets users take
one-way trips. For example in Austin, cars can be reserved ahead of time
or picked up on the spot and dropped off somewhere else, as long as its
within the program’s operating area.

Car2go is seen by some in
the industry more as an alternative to taxis or bike-sharing programs
than to traditional car sharing. But in a city where there’s more cachet
in talking about the car you don’t own than boasting about the one
taking up space in your driveway or parking garage, demand for
car-sharing services is growing.

“I think Vancouver is a great
choice for car2go and I’m eager to see how it does,” said Beth Breisnes,
who with her husband Jon Breisnes gave up car ownership two years ago
and instead uses Modo cars through their membership with that co-op. “I
think there is definitely room for a service like that, a one-way
service,” said Breisnes, who is a director of Modo.

Kellenberger, Frost & Sullivan automotive and transportation global
program manager, said in choosing Vancouver, car2go is coming into an
area where there is already a strong base and an awareness of car

“You don’t have to grow it from scratch,” she said.

popularity of car sharing is growing, said Kellenberger, fuelled by a
number of factors including the cost of car ownership and for Vancouver
and Toronto the cost of real estate, which is more of a priority for
many than car buying.

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About Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.