Following the successful launch of the car2go mobility service in the German city of Hamburg, car2go GmbH, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Daimler AG, and Europcar, a car rental company in Europe, announced on Oct. 10 that Lyon, France will become the first French city to enjoy the benefits of the car2go mobility program.

Starting in 2012, car2go, a car sharing company, will provide Lyon residents with a fleet of 200 low-emission, self-service Smart fortwo cars, which will be available for “on-demand” rentals throughout the city, meaning no reservation is needed to rent a car. Members can locate the closest available vehicle within a defined operating area of 44 square kilometers via or with the help of a smartphone application.

car2go allows its members to use the vehicle for as long as they like, without committing to a specific return time or location. Members pay only for the time they use the vehicle, with rental periods as short as one minute. More than 45,000 people in Germany and North America have already become members of car2go.

“Innovative urban mobility solutions like car2go offer a way to help meet the challenges of urban congestion, reducing carbon emissions and improving quality of life,” said Gérard Collomb, mayor of Lyon and president of Grand Lyon. “Following the actions we initiated in 2005 with Velo’v, the first self-service bike sharing system, Lyon is innovating again with car2go, a new approach to car sharing which is complementary to other initiatives enabling our residents to move around town.”

car2go complements the existing transportation infrastructure in dense urban areas and aims to reduce the burden on city-center traffic, parking and the environment by using the Smart fortwo “car2go edition.” The vehicle has been specially developed for the purpose of car sharing and is manufactured at the Smart plant in Hambach, France.

“This roll-out marks an important step of car2go into the European market and we are proud to name Lyon the first home of car2go in France,” said Robert Henrich, CEO of car2go GmbH. “The overwhelming success in Germany and North America shows that car2go offers what people are searching for: a very convenient and flexible mobility solution for short and spontaneous one-way trips.”

Unlimited mobility
The idea of car2go was born at the Business Innovation Department of Daimler AG. Today, with a total of more than 45,000 members and 1,100 vehicles worldwide, car2go has proven success in four cities: Ulm and Hamburg in Germany, the Texan capital Austin in the U.S. and Vancouver in Canada.

Since the first launch in the southern German city of Ulm in March 2009, more than 900,000 trips have been made and approximately 9 million kilometers have been covered. Nine out of ten car2go rentals end at a different location than where they began, further showcasing that customers value the car2go model of point-to-point mobility.

“Through this partnership with Daimler, we are exploring new ways to combine urban mobility services with short-term car rental services, to provide comprehensive mobility solutions to urban customers,” said Phillipe Guillemot, CEO of Europcar International.