Daimler’s Car2go is on the move. The German firm announced the scheduled opening of its car-sharing service’s 31st location, in Brussels, Belgium in October 2016 with a mix of Smartfortwo and Mercedes-Benz A-class cars.
As odd as it may seem today, individual car ownership may be on the way out. If a switch to mobility as a service (MaaS) transforms how most of us view cars, the only people who actually own and drive their own vehicles are likely to be enthusiasts, the very rich, and the very poor. Such a transition is decades away (at least), but the actions of major car manufacturers in teaming up with ride-hailing companies, and in launching their own car sharing services, are clearly discernible early signs of change to come.
After initial testing with Daimler employees in Ulm, Germany in 2008, the Car2go service launched in Austin, Texas in 2010. Six more Car2go service cities in Germany, Austria, Canada, the Netherlands, and the U.S. were added in 2011 and the service has grown further since then, according to Wikipedia. Today there are 14,000 cars in the international Car2go fleet and 1.9 million registered users.
The Brussels site will be the third new city added to the Car2go service map within 12 months. Service started in Madrid in November 2015, and in Chongqing, China in April 2016. Most Car2go sites are stocked with Smartfortwo gasoline or electric-powered cars, or both. The Smartfortwo is a two-passenger car particularly appropriate for city use because of its parking prowess. The Brussels fleet, however, will have 250 Smartfortwos and 50 Mercedes A-class sedans.
Daimler is the market leader in car-sharing services and has no intention of yielding its position. “We are consequently implementing the Car2go growth strategy and underlining our world-wide market leadership in free-floating car-sharing,” says Roland Keppler, CEO of Car2go. “The increasing usage of Car2go clearly shows a growing demand for spontaneous mobility around the globe.”