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car2go launches in Stuttgart

car2go smart fortwo Vehiclecar2go has launched its car sharing network in Stuttgart with 300 all-electric vehicles, which is the largest battery-electric smart fleet in Germany. The city and surrounding area will see 500 charging stations for the vehicles being installed by EnBW until the end of next year, allowing motorists to recharge the shared cars with a renewable energy source.

The launch of the car sharing system will allow residents and travellers in Stuttgart to travel in all-electric cars any time. After registering to become members, customers are able to find the nearest available car2go cars on the operator’s website or via its smartphone app. Then they use their membership cards to open the vehicles without needing a reservation. When they are finished using the cars, members simply lock the vehicles and leave them in any public parking bay within the Home Area, which covers 75sq/km. The service area is due to be expanded in 2013 to include certain parts of greater Stuttgart. On top of this, there are plans for car2go to be linked with other transport options, especially public transport firm Stuttgarter Straßenbahnen AG (SSB).

Using car2go’s smart fortwo vehicles in Stuttgart costs the same as using a petrol-powered car at the company’s other locations. This means members can drive for 29 cents a minute, which includes electricity for the first 20km, taxes and insurance. However, this rate drops to nine cents per minute while a car is parked. Hourly and daily rates are discounted at €12.90 per hour and €39 per day.

This move is the first electric mobility milestone in the ‘Living Lab BWe mobil’ showcase initiative for Baden-Württemberg, which is a project partner of car2go. Premier Winfried Kretschmann has highlighted how significant the launch of this car sharing network is for the German state as a business location and for protecting the environment.

With the new concept and public infrastructure, Kretschmann said, electric mobility is expanding where automobiles were initially invented. The charging points installed with the help of the state can be used for every electric car. Thus, environmentally-friendly driving has become more convenient for Stuttgart than any other German city. This makes the area a presentation for electric mobility, demonstrating that southwest Germany is on board with the initiative.

Dr. Wolfgang Schuster, the Mayor of Stuttgart, added that the future mobility system will be beneficial to economic growth, socially responsible and environmentally friendly. They are talking about an affordable mobility solution for everybody – one that consumes fewer resources and fossil energy, as well as emits less noise and air pollution. Stuttgart has to take this opportunity to become the heart of electric mobility.

EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg chairman Dr. Frank Mastiaux noted that electric vehicles need a functional, comprehensive and customer-friendly charging infrastructure. This means energy, which they are supplying for car2go cars and other electric vehicles.

Dr. Dieter Zetsche, the chief executive of Daimler, said at the launch that car2go provides affordable electric mobility to everybody. Now people in Stuttgart will see first-hand that electric drive systems can be used every day. With this launch, Daimler is underlining its leadership in innovation for new mobility concepts and technologies.

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