Andrea Stockton, staff writer
July 26, 2011 — Over 2000 Vancouverites are taking part in a car-sharing program to help reduce carbon emissions.
car2go Vancouver is a car sharing program that was introduced to the city this summer. The program began in Germany in 2009 as a way to reduce urban congestion and lower carbon emissions.
Vancouver's fleet includes 225 Smart Cars, which were chosen for their fuel efficiency.
“They're really small, two and a half metres. So, it takes up half the space of a traditional car, which is great for urban mobility. You can park these guys anywhere,” explains Sandra Phillips with car2go Canada Ltd.
Extra features like solar panels also help with Vancouver's commitment to become the greenest city by 2020.
“We have a solar roof on all of these cars. It helps with two things. One, it helps recharge the battery. All of these cars have a telematic system that draws constantly on the battery. So, the solar roof recharges it and helps with batteries going dead,” explains Phillips.
“And then the second thing is that if it goes too hot outside, the temperature outside is hotter than inside the car, the fan kicks in. So, when you get in the car, you don't feel the need to turn on the air conditioning and that helps with fuel consumption again.”
The program applies a “free floating concept” which means car2go vehicles are available for pickup without a return time or location.
Participants can simply park the car back within the operating area and a service team looks after the rest.