'car2go' Carsharing Launched in London

Since its launch in 2010, the Barclays Cycle Hire scheme – otherwise known as Boris Bikes – has been a success. With 8,000 bicycles dotted around London, users pay a small surcharge that allows them to cycle from one bicycle dock to another with fees based on time taken rather than distance.

As of today, and thanks to Daimler and Europcar, you can do the same with a smart fortwo at a rate of 35 pence per minute. Daimler are billing the scheme as the 'future of urban mobility', although Toyota and Hiriko may have something to say about that.

car2go's smart fortwos will cost 35 pence per mile

So what do you get for your 35 pence (which in London could mean as much as half a mile's travel or as little as half a metre)?

In an age of add-ons and hidden charges, car2go is refreshingly honest. Once you have registered online, that 35 pence covers fuel, insurance, road tax, parking and maintenance. And like the Boris Bikes, the smart cars can be returned to a different parking bay from the one where they were collected – any public or unregulated space in one of the three participating London boroughs is suitable. Importantly, there are no monthly or annual fees.

The location of nearby smart cars can be found either online or by using a custom smart phone app. Alternatively, and with no need to make a reservation, you could just stumble across one and get in, which requires holding a membership card against a card reader on the windshield and entering a PIN. From there it's all yours.

Insurance, maintenance, fuel, road tax and parking are all covered

Car2go isn't simply a London-based trial, either - we were surprised to learn that the scheme operates in over 15 cities worldwide, using 6,000 smart fortwos. You'll also be joining more than 250,000 current members.

The fortwos emit just 98g/km CO2, but with smart's latest fortwo electric drive recently impressing us, surely there's potential for London to use the little electric cars in place of their conventionally-powered stablemates with the help of some wireless charging?

Although you can register online, below is a list of Europcar stores where you can register in person. If you register before the end of the year, your account will be credited with half an hour free of charge.

- Europcar Station Islington , 1-9 Market Road, Islington, N7 9PL
- Europcar Station Kings Cross, 136-150 Pentonville Road, N1 9JE
- Europcar Station Marble Arch, 7-23 Bryanston Street, W1H 7BD
- Europcar Station Bayswater, Elm Mews, W2 3P
- Europcar Station Victoria, 12 Semley Place, SW1W 9QL
- Europcar Station Fulham Broadway, 73/77 Britannia Road, SW6 2JR
- Europcar Station Putney Bridge, 72 The Arches, Ranelagh Gardens, SW63 UH
- Europcar Station Waterloo Station, 43 York Road, SE1 7NJ
- Europcar Station Kennington, 68-86 Clapham Road, London SW9 0JJ
- Europcar Station North Cheam, 133 Stonecot Hill, Sutton SM3 9HS

Reserve at car2go

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