car2go has expanded its 36 mile home area to include several parking lots at SDSU providing a new cheap and clean transportation option for the campus community. The ground-breaking car-sharing service, from the minds of the Daimler Innovation Group (think Mercedes -Benz), is an on-demand, pay only for the minutes you use, car rental model that may change the way you think about transportation.
I’ll admit that when I first heard the specifics of cars2go I was skeptical. Could this hair-brained idea of car sharing be convenient enough to change the world? Or was it another instance of an idea whose limitations or costs doomed it to good intentions bin. So I visited the website and viewed the short training video where I learned that car2go is as easy as Card >> Code >> Key.
- Card- You apply for a membership online using your driver’s license. Students only need to be 18 or older to become a member (in contrast to most rental car companies that require renters to be 25 or older.) For a limited time students can register for just $10 (and get 30 minutes drive time free) with coupon code aztecs2013 instead of paying the standard $35 fee. Once you get your membership card (1-2 days if you pick it up at their downtown office or 4-5 days by mail) you are ready to go. Just pull up the car2go app on your phone and find the nearest car. With 300 cars in the San Diego home area there’s a good chance that there is a car nearby. Searching as I write this shows that there are 3 cars within short walking distance and 7 within moderate distance. A quick swipe of the card over the dashboard unlocks the doors and starts the process.
- Code- Enter your pin number on the dashboard computer. The pin number protects from anyone using your card if you happen to lose it. You will be asked to rate the condition of the car and agree to the terms of service.
- Key- The key to the car is right there in the dashboard. Simply put it in the ignition, turn the key and you’re off!
|Cars charging at the downtown car2go office|
Your rental has begun and at a rental rate of 38 cents/minute for a maximum of $13.99/hour. Once you’re done with the car, just park it in the anywhere in the home area (Mission Bay, Downtown, Point Loma, Hillcrest, Mission Valley or SDSU), scan your card as you get out, and only pay for the minutes that you actually use. That means that a 25 minute ride from SDSU to MBAC will run you about $9.50 or a 10 minute ride from Pacific Beach to Mission Beach will cost you just $3.80, cheaper than a cab ride! Keep in mind that the 38 cents a minute fee includes insurance, fuel, maintenance, and parking (park in any metered spot in the home area, or parking spot in the approved lots at SDSU and car2go covers the parking).
The San Diego fleet of car2go Smart Cars (also made by Daimler) are the only 100% electric fleet in the 9 North American cities where car2go is available. You are able to check the charge level on the app or website when searching for cars, and you will also be able to see the condition of the exterior and interior as reviewed by the previous user. Smart cars may not be known for their size but in speaking to an SDSU student car2go user who moves her drums around town using car2go, there is plenty of cargo room. And while you may not expect such safety and performance to be a feature of such a compact car, at 2100 lbs, the cars feel much more solid than expected and include many safety features including a tridion roll cage (similar to what’s used in auto racing) and 6 interior air bags.
Smart doesn’t begin to describe car2go smart cars technology that in the case that you may forget to roll up a window or properly end your rental, the car will send you a text giving you a heads up. Green? Absolutely! Aside from the zero emission 100% electric fleet, car2go works to be responsible stewards of the environment by cleaning the cars with waterless detailing and even rates your driving EcoScore, a new tool which helps to determine the environmental impact of your driving style.
car2go is a great option for SDSU students to commute to class or to drive to classes at MBAC. With 6 reserved spots exclusively for car2go vehicles in Faculty/Staff Lot G and no permit required in the other approved lots, parking at SDSU couldn’t be easier. To find out if car2go is a good option for you, be sure to take advantage of the limited time offer of $10 registration and 30 minutes free drive with code aztecs2013.