SMART cars could become as common as a black cab in London as car2go spreads across the capital.
The car-sharing service from Daimler and Europcar has launched in three London boroughs with 300 SMART cars, a number set to increase to 500 by the end of the year.
And there will be even more, according to Stefan Mueller, CEO car2go Europe, as more and more boroughs sign up.
The idea behind car2go is simple, you sign up to the scheme – there’s a one time £29.90 joining fee (which is actually being waived for those who get in by the end of the year) and you are issued with a smartcard which can be used on any car2go SMART you see parked around the streets.
On the road charges are 35p a minute, £14.90 per hour or £59 for the day. However there is no charge for fuel or parking. When you’ve finished, park the car up and car2go will have tracked it by satellite – someone will pitch up to refuel it and clean it out.
Mueller said: “A lot of Londoners don’t need or want a car all the time but enjoy the freedom that driving brings. car2go gives the best of both worlds – the ability to go where you want, when you want – and in comfort – but without all the costs associated with owning, running and insuring a car full-time.”
First London boroughs are Islington, Newham and Sutton so customers can only pick up or leave in one of those for now. Parking is for free in any meter bays in the boroughs.
Car2go was launched in the German city of Ulm in 2009 and has now spread to 16 European and US cities. Mueller said that almost half a million people have registered and there have already been more than 5 million rentals.
He added: “We plan to extend car2go not only in London but across the UK as well as Europe and the US. We are also looking at Asia for the future.”