The program in question is Car2Go, which already operates in Europe and six other North American cities, and it takes the “share” part of “car share” to a whole new level. Conventional car rentals contract by the day or week. Zipcar and its imitators rent by the hour or half-hour. Car2Go rents by the minute — for 38 cents a minute, including gas, insurance, and, most notably, parking, with hourly and daily caps that keep it competitive with the competition.
The company buys an annual citywide parking pass for $1,330 per car, rebalanced according to actual usage at year’s end. Members (who pay a $35 fee) can drop their cars2go off at any legal parking spot they choose within Car2Go’s service area, and pick them up where they find them; its website and iPhone/iPad apps guide them to the nearest parked behicles. Since those cars will all be Smart Cars (yes, Daimler Benz is behind Car2Go), that parking will be as easy as it gets.