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Smart car sharing project to help Amsterdam get cleaner air

DutchAmsterdam.nl — A display of sixty electric-powered ‘Smart’ cars parked in neat rows on Dam Square last Wednesday marked the starting shot for a cleaner Amsterdam.

Before Christmas 300 of these electric cars will be driving through Amsterdam — a project that will make the city home to one of the world’s largest electric vehicle (EV) sharing programs.

It is also the largest such project in Europe.

The clean mini cars are already a success in Germany, the USA, and Canada.

In 2015 Amsterdam must meet European clean air standards.

“If we don’t meet the clean air norms we will not be allowed to start new construction projects,” says a spokesman for the city’s Infrastructure, Traffic and Transportation department. “That’s because a new building attracts more traffic.”

The cars will get a parking permit for the area within the Ringweg — the circular freeway that surrounds most of Amsterdam:

View Amsterdam Ringweg in a larger map

The parking permit will also be valid for

  • Zuidas (literally ‘Southern Axis’), a new urban centre devoted to international commerce and knowledge development,
  • IJburg, a neighborhood situated on a man-made island in the IJ, and
  • Amsterdam Arena, the nation’s largest arena, just south-east of the Ringweg

The permit will not be valid for Amsterdam-North.

The car sharing program is seen as complimentary to taxis and public transport.

Car2Go Amsterdam

Car2Go charges a one-time € 10 registration fee.

The launch of car2go Amsterdam marks the start of completely new pricing structure for car2go, not only for Amsterdam but also for existing and future car2go locations throughout Europe.

You pay per minute for use of the car — currently € 0,29. Everything is included in the price per minute. Costs for serving, cleaning, repairs, electricity, parking, insurance, road tax and the navigation system. The minute price is even lower whilst parking.

You can find a car via a Car2Go app, or visit the company’s website.

Customers will not have to commit to a specific return time or location. The Smart cars have a lithium-ion traction battery, an automatic gearbox and a range of 135 km. On-board are air-conditioning, a radio and a navigation system.

Charging Stations

Currently there are 200 charging stations in the city. By 2013 there will be one thousand.

The rental car does not necessarily need to be returned to a charging station. However, if the battery capacity is lower than 20 percent, rentals must be returned to one of the charging stations, locations of which are displayed in the on-board navigation system.

If the battery level is lower than 40 percent, drivers will receive 10 free minutes for re-charging the car.

The charging does not need to be completed before a car2go can be rented again: if there is a minimum 50 percent state of charge, the vehicle is available for the next customer.

Smart Tossing

In 2009 Smart cars in Amsterdam made international headlines when a local newspaper reported on a craze in which vandals tossed parked cars from the Smart brand into the city’s canals — a practice we referred to as an “urban version of cow tipping.”

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