UK to get Smart car sharing scheme
Daimler (the official name of Mercedes Benz's parent) will introduce its Car2go Smart car sharing scheme in Birmingham, after a highly successful start in America and Europe.
The scheme will allow Brummies to rent one of 250 petrol-powered Smart Fortwos within a 30 square mile operating zone in the city.
Launched in 2009 in Austin, Texas, the Car2go scheme has burgeoned in America and Europe, now boasting more than 70,000 members.
Birmingham City Council is the first in the UK to accept the scheme, which Daimler says is "the world's first mobility program...without fixed rental locations." The scheme was one of a few offered to Birmingham, after the council put out an invitation to car scheme companies to bid.
Due to begin this autumn, the scheme will see specific 'car2go edition' Smarts hit the Midlands, which can "be rented spontaneously inside an operating area of around 30 square miles, [covering] the city centre and several densely populated suburbs."
Drivers don't have a specific return location for the car, says Daimler, although we're certain that abandoning it in a random back lane isn't acceptable; Daimler has paid Birmingham council a fee so that the car can be left on the street, or in certain designated off-street parking spots.
The cost to the customer hasn't been announced yet - nor the mechanics of actually renting - but drivers will be charged for the distance they go in the car, and can rent for as little as a couple of minutes, it's claimed.
If successful, there's little doubt that Daimler will look to provide Car2go in other major UK cities.