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Smart car-sharing spreads to Seattle

Daimler's car2go service brings a fleet of smart fortwo vehicles to Seattle, expanding its reach to 8 North American cities.

By Claire_Martin Dec 11, 2012 1:49PM
Car2go, the car-sharing company owned by Daimler, has unleashed a fleet of 330 smart fortwo cars onto the streets of Seattle, expanding its reach to eight North American cities and 18 worldwide.

Car-sharing isn't a new concept in Seattle. Car2go joins Zipcar, the world's largest car-sharing company, which came to Seattle when it merged with local upstart Flexcar in 2007. Flexcar was founded in 2000.

Car2go's distinction is that it offers more flexibility. Drivers can swipe their membership cards on any available car without first making a reservation, and they can stay behind the wheel for any amount of time.

While Zipcar's vehicles are parked at pre-determined locations, car2go fortwos are scattered randomly throughout the city and can be deposited anywhere in the area when the driver is finished. This makes them particularly conducive to one-way trips.

Since launching in Germany three years ago, car2go has accrued thousands of customers, including more than 6,000 in San Diego alone. Given that car-sharing is seen as an environmentally friendly answer to car ownership, the company's reliance on the eco-friendly smart fortwo, which averages 34 mpg city, is, well, smart.

Car2go went a step further on the eco front last spring when it launched its San Diego fleet, which is made up exclusively of smart fortwo electric drive vehicles that get an EPA-estimated combined range of 63 gas-free miles.

If car2go is partly meant to help market the fortwo, Daimler could be having some success. Fortwo sales have been less than robust throughout the car's five-year tenure in the U.S., but according to the site Good Car Bad Car, 2012 has been a banner year for the brand: September sales, for example, hit an all-time record 1,030 units.

[Source: Autoblog, The Seattle Times]
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