San Diego residents and tourists looking for a quick trip to Pacific Beach, Balboa Park, Torrey Pines, the Gaslight District or other local attractions or destinations have a new option: one of the 300 Smart ForTwo EDs in car2go’s all-electric carsharing fleet.
Of course, there are a few caveats.
First, the cars aren’t all there yet. Car2go, a Daimler AG company, uses Smart ForTwo ED vehicles in their rental fleets and the announcement that San Diego will be the site of North America’s first all-electric fleet using Smart ForTwo electric vehicles (EVs) just happened.
But everything should be in place by the end of the year, as reported in our sister publication CarNewsBreak.
car2go Smart ForTwo Electric Drive charging at San Diego Automotive MuseumEnlarge Photo
Besides the cars, there’s another vital part of the equation – charging infrastructure. Approximately 1,000 Blink EV commercial charging stations will be sited and installed in the city and environs by the end of the year. ECOtality, the California-based technology provider, developed the Blink charging stations.
Then there’s the fact that the Smart ForTwo only carries two people. That makes the tiny electric car great for a couple of family members to head out for an excursion or shopping, or a single individual to run errands. Smart ForTwo isn’t exactly a family vehicle, but it will definitely do in a pinch.
And going long distances isn’t in the cards – nor should it be. The Smart ForTwo ED has a range of about 84 miles on a single charge. But according to car2go’s past experience, most urban drivers only travel about six miles on a daily stretch.
Using the aforementioned Blink charging stations – which car2go’s carsharing users will be able to conveniently find using an iPhone app – a recharge from 20 to 80 percent of the battery takes just three and a half hours. A full recharge (of a completely discharged battery) takes eight hours, or overnight.
car2go Smart ForTwo Electric Drive at Windansea Beach La Jolla CAEnlarge Photo
Why San Diego?
A natural question is why San Diego? The answer is that San Diego is committed to electric vehicle technology. Besides being a tech hub, San Diego has public-private partnerships such as CleanTech San Diego. The mayor’s office is actively preparing a city-wide welcome of EVs. Forbes reported that San Diegans claim that a tenth of all Nissan Leafs (a 100 percent electric vehicle) are sold there. And San Diego, through ECOtality, is part of the $98 million federally-supported EV Project, designed to install chargers at homes and in public places.
The San Diego car2go all-electric fleet will also provide consumers with easy access to EVs – without having to buy them first.
There is another plus here. Getting used to EVs, especially for urban travel, will likely ease consumer range anxiety and other concerns over all-electric cars – at least, in San Diego, and sometime in the near future.