Car2go – from slow start to strong growth
Launched by Daimler a decade ago, Car2go is the world’s largest on-demand carsharing service today, with strong growth overall and in particular for the corporate segment. However, growth was not rapid at first, nor straightforward in terms of locations and areas covered, as this short overview shows.
- October: Daimler launches a first pilot, providing 50 smart Fortwo cars for Daimler employees in Ulm, Germany. In March 2009, the Ulm pilot is expanded to 200 Fortwos and opened to the public. It will be discontinued in December 2014.
- November: second pilot in Austin, Texas. Opened to the general public in May 2010 – the official start of car2go.
- August: car2go pilots its service with selected user groups in Vancouver, Canada. General access to car2go started in June 2011.
- Spring: car2go launches in Hamburg with a fleet of 300 cars, since expanded to 800.
- December: car2go launches in Vienna.
- February: start of car2go in Lyon; local car rental company CarGo wins a legal battle over the corporate name. Car2go halts activities in Lyon in June of that year.
- April: car2go launches in Berlin with a fleet of around 1,000 vehicles, significantly expanded since then. Launches in other German cities follow soon.
- December: launch in the UK with 500 smart cars in London. Birmingham will follow in May 2013. In May 2014, car2go withdraws from both cities – and the UK as a whole.
- February: partnership with car2share, an offer by third-party provider Autonetzer, for private carsharing.
- June: launch in Denver, with 300 vehicles.
- August: car2go starts in Milan, the first location in Italy. The fleet of 150 vehicles is expanded to 450 in September.
- December: both car2go’s area of operations and fleet in Stuttgart are expanded. The area is reduced again in November 2017, and a ‘drop-off fee’ is charged for leaving the vehicle in certain areas.
- Four years after the official launch, car2go reaches the 1-million-member milestone.
- April: car2go is used mainly in city centres, so the company reduces its area of operation in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Cologne and Ulm. In December, car2go withdraws from Ulm.
- August: the area of operations is reduced (further) in Vienna, Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Düsseldorf and Munich.
- October: two years after the previous million, car2go reaches 2 million members, firmly establishing global market leadership in flexible carsharing.
- January: following 30% membership growth in 2017, car2go has 3 million members, just 15 months after the previous million.
- That same month, Daimler and BMW announce their intention to merge their mobility activities – including car2go and DriveNow - in one joint venture. The plan is are approved by the EU in November and the U.S. in December of that year.
- January: car2go enters Paris, with an initial fleet of 400 vehicles. It’s the fourth city - after Amsterdam (pictured: a smart Fortwo charging next to a canal), Stuttgart and Munich - in which the carsharer operates a fully electric fleet.
By January this year, Car2go’s membership had increased to 3.6 million (+21% year-on-year). The company’s global fleet of nearly 14,000 vehicles, spread over 25 locations on three continents, was rented for a total of more than 25 million trips (more than 12% with EVs). The biggest increases occurred in Berlin (>401,000 trips), Milan (>303,000) and Turin (>174,000).
The biggest markets are Europe (more than 2.1 million users) and North America (1.2 million users, +20%). The cities with the most members are Berlin (282,000), Chongqing (273,000 – the only location in Asia) and Madrid (237,000). More than 58,000 companies (+37%) now offer car2go as a mobility solution to their employees.