DutchAmsterdam.nl — The city of Amsterdam will soon by home to one of the world’s largest electric vehicle (EV) sharing programs.
German automotive group Daimler, which owns the Mercedes-Benz and Smart brands, will roll out its car2go sharing scheme to the Dutch capital by the end of the year, using exclusively electric vehicles.
Car2go allows drivers to reserve and rent cars for a monthly membership fee, paying per hour or per mile for their usage.
The scheme is already active in the German cities of Hamburg and Ulm, as well as in Austin, Texas. However, the cars used there are specially-produced gasoline-powered Smart Fortwo cars.
In Amsterdam the company will instead use a fleet of 300 Smart Fortwo electric vehicles.
Amsterdam alderman Eric Wiebes, responsible for Traffic, Transport and Infrastructure, says the car2go program “fits perfectly into Amsterdam’s strive for improving the air quality in the city.”
“As car sharing vehicles are completing many kilometers within the city, electrification of such vehicles in particular has a positive effect,” he added.
“Car2go is designed to meet the growth and diversity of mobility needs in dense urban areas while protecting environment and quality of life,” says Robert Henrich, CEO of car2go GmbH.
“Amsterdam’s strong focus on implementing and fostering green technologies such as an extensive electric infrastructure and its citizen’s open-minded lifestyle makes it the perfect place to launch an electric car2go program.”
To facilitate the project Amsterdam has committed to installing around 300 electric charging stations by end of this year. By the end of 2012 the city wants to have 1000 such publicly-accessible charging spots.
Amsterdam has an efficient public transit network as well as various bike and car sharing schemes which are well accepted by its citizens.
“car2go is aiming to complement the existing transport systems by providing a service for short and spontaneous one-way trips. We see ourselves not as a competition to other means of transport, but as another puzzle piece in the mix of Amsterdam’s different means of urban transportation,” says Henrich.
Fortunately for all involved in the project there have been no recent incidents of the short-lived Amsterdam craze of July 2009, in which vandals tossed parked Smart cars into the canals.
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