Amsterdam introduces eco car share scheme

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From 24 November, 300 electric cars will be available to the citizens of Amsterdam as part of a car sharing scheme intended to improve air quality.

Amsterdam, which officially presented the electric Smart cars on Wednesday, is the first city worldwide to introduce the Car2Go programme on such a large scale.

The company selected Amsterdam because of its favourable infrastructure. Car2Go already has a presence in a number of other cities, including Vancouver, Hamburg and Lyon. However, in these cities the programme also includes petrol-powered vehicles.

Plug it in
Amsterdam currently features 250 charging stations for electric vehicles. That number is set to rise to 1,000 in the near future to make driving an electric car more practical and more attractive.

The city hopes that the car sharing programme will help improve its sub-standard air quality, which is thought to be at least partly responsible for a life expectancy two years below the national average.

Try, try again
Amsterdam regards the Car2Go scheme as the 2.0 version of its 1970s car sharing programme which never caught on. However, all parties involved are convinced that this time around car sharing will prove a success.

The electric Smart cars are expected to appeal to citizens who do not own a car but who need to go places outside of the reach of public transport or when it’s raining.

The rules
Participants pay 10 euros for their Car2Go card but no membership fees. Driving one of the electric Smarts costs 29 cents per minute to a maximum of 12.90 per hour and 39 euros per day.

The cars come with a parking permit for the entire city including Amsterdam North, which is generally free of parking restrictions anyway, and can simply be left behind anywhere in the area. However, when the battery is nearly exhausted users must park the car near a recharging point.

Users who want to park the car and make sure it will still be there when they come back pay nine cents per minute to a maximum of € 5.40 an hour.