Saturday, July 21, 2012

car2go ~ NEW Personal Transportation Alternative joins the Calgary Market

Barley Mill, Eau Claire
Calgary, Alberta

Humans love their cars.  The interstate system of the US.  The autobaun of Germany.  Route 66.  There is a lot of fabulous history in our love of the automobile.  However, technology innovation and advancement, and a will to improve our collective environmental performance are driving new ideas in personal transportation.

This evolution of personal transportation is already at a relatively rapid clip and accelerating.  During my childhood and youth, muscle cars were all the rage.  Cubic inches, and monster meats were on jacked up rear axles.  Today, a revolution of hybrids and electrics is proceeding at a blistering pace.  Name brand multinationals.  Boutique manufacturers.  Personal use.  Commercial applications.  Racing.  2012 Len Mans champions were hybrids.  Well beyond just a  trend, this is now broaching on wholesale change to the industry standard ~ a glimpse of what future norms might be in personal transportation.

car2go is on that path.  Leading a wholesale change in personal transportation.  12000 trips per week by 15000 members ~ using 320 units. Average trip is 6-8km.  These are the current figures for Vancouver, BC.  Seriously, one car servicing 46 people.  And a highly fuel efficient and clean emissions vehicle to boot.

I had the good fortune of chatting with car2go’s North America Communications Director, Katie Stafford.  Katie is in town for the kickoff to Calgary’s operations July 21.  There will be 14 locations globally with Calgary and Miami’s openings in the next week.  In 2011, there were 4.  Greater than 300% growth in one year.  The goal is 75+ locations within the next five years.

Car2go’s monstrous growth is matched only by Calgary’s growth.  These fast growing economies provide the opportunity to potentially influence core infrastructure.  All it takes is ideas and energy.  Calgary is vibrant and accepting to evolving its norm.  It’s come a long way from Cowtown of the 60’s.  Transportation innovation is on that path.

car2go uses the Smart FourTwo as there current unit vehicles
Car2go is a joint effort with Daimler, and SmartCars, collaborating on an amazingly convenient point to point on demand personal transportation solution.  No advance notice required.  One direction and few limitations.  Easy peasy.  You pay only for the time you use.  Continue your journey on foot.  Pick up the next car at your convenience.

Katie took me for a drive in one of the units.  Clean, comfortable and well equipped with navigation, entertainment and information displays.  All maintained, fueled and managed by someone else. Someone else that also provides free parking at aligned providers.  Units can be located and reserved if you wish, by an app on your mobile device ~ as can the parking.  Yup, they’ve got an app for that.  Or you just walk up and take the next nearest available unit.  You swipe your membership card which is RFID security encrypted across the windshield scanner and you’re off on your journey (ed. I was going to say, "off to the races" ~ but there's probably a clause in the contract about that :-p)

This seems like a pretty slick adaption of a different strategy to a common goal.  The common interest is in improving efficiency by reducing the carbon footprint of personal transportation.  I believe the figures above recently posted in Vancouver show positive results.  This looks like quite an ingenious approach to the continuous evolution of how we love our cars.  

Check it out at their FREE EVENT today (July 21) at the Holy Grill 10th Avenue SW ~ follow then at car2go on Twitter and online at car2go. Enjoy the Salsa Festival!

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