Electric car-sharing scheme headed for San Diego
Tuesday 19 July 2011
The US city of San Diego in California is to host the continent's first all-electric car-sharing fleet.
Last week, German automaker Daimler confirmed that its car2go service, which uses Smart Fortwo vehicles and is already present in Germany, Austin, Texas and Vancouver, Canada, will be extended to car-sharers in yet another city.
However, the San Diego scheme, which is set to begin its roll-out by the end of this year, will be North America's first 100 percent electric car-sharing fleet, using some 300 Smart Fortwo electric drive models.
All of the cars will be kitted out with the car2go telematics technology used in its other fleets, which allow drivers to book and rent the cars without committing to a specific return time or location.
Alongside the scheme, 1,000 electric car charging stations will be installed across San Diego, although as car2go vehicles rarely travel over six miles (10 km), those behind the scheme believe that the Smart Fortwo electric's 84 mile (135 km) range should be more than sufficient for an average day.
A successful car-sharing scheme could significantly boost the profile of the Smart Fortwo in the US, where it has struggled to gain a foothold in a market dominated by larger models, selling under 6,000 models in 2010.
However, the introduction of other small European vehicles such as the Fiat 500 (also to be followed by an electric version) could signal a turning point for American motorists, particularly if they are given easy access to the models through schemes such as this one.
San Diego's mayor, Jerry Sanders, said that the effort would support efforts to turn his city into the nation's electric vehicle capital.
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