Amsterdam to get Europe's largest EV-sharing program

Amsterdam is to get one of the world's largest electric vehicle sharing programs, it was announced April 11.

German automotive group Daimler, which owns the Mercedes-Benz and Smart brands, will roll out its car2go sharing scheme to the Dutch city by the end of the year, using exclusively electric vehicles.

A fleet of 300 Smart Fortwo electric vehicles will be offered as part of the scheme, which Daimler says is "one of the world's first large scale carsharing fleets."

The car2go scheme, already active in Ulm and Hamburg in Germany and Austin, capital of the US state of Texas, allows drivers to reserve and rent cars for a monthly membership fee, paying per hour or per mile for their usage.

However, the current schemes use gasoline-powered Smart Fortwos (a specific model is produced for the scheme) - the Amsterdam program is set to be car2go's first electric program, a big step for both Daimler and the city.

Eric Wiebes, a city official, said that car2go "fits perfectly into Amsterdam's strive for improving the air quality in the city."

"This project brings electric car sharing a significant step closer to a major audience," he added.

"As car sharing vehicles are completing many kilometers within the city, electrification of such vehicles in particular has a positive effect."

To facilitate the introduction of the vehicles, Amsterdam is set to have 300 electric car charging stations by the end of this year, and 1000 by the end of 2012.

The scheme will now go head-to-head with the Paris Autolib service, which is set to offer significantly more vehicles but has been delayed several times.

A deal to produce the vehicles was finally signed last month, with Italian brand Pininfarina set to produce some 4,000 all-electric "Bluecar" models.

http://www.car2go.com

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