The Complete Guide to Car2Go

When you have errands to run all across the city and no vehicle to get you places, the cost of ridesharing can quickly leave you strapped for cash. From minimum fares to surge pricing (not to mention the cost of owning a car), Uber and Lyft’s rates may allow for affordable one-way trips, but every destination you add to your day is another $10 to $13 spent. The solution lies in car-sharing with car2go and DriveNow, two services that are joining together to put you behind the wheel of your ride.

If car ownership isn’t in your immediate future or you simply want a backup plan when your car’s in the shop, you may want to learn about car2go, DriveNow, and how their new joint venture, SHARE NOW, can help you out.

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What Is Car2go?Car2go homepage

Due to operate independently until November 12, 2019, car2go is a short-term car rental service that allows drivers to locate nearby available vehicles and book them on demand — no car key pickup needed. The company allows users to take their rentals out for as little as a few minutes or as much as three days, and you don’t even have to refuel when you end your trip.

How Car2Go Compares to Other Car Rental Companies

Car2go is unique because its service functions more similarly to scooter sharing services like Bird scooters than to peer-to-peer car rental companies like Turo and Fair. Car2go’s own fleet of Mercedes-Benz and Smart cars can be unlocked through your app just by beginning a trip. Vehicles can be picked up wherever previous users leave them and be returned at any legal street parking area in your city’s operating area.

While car2go is fairly similar to Zipcar, in that you’re charged short-term rates including fuel and insurance, car2go pulls ahead because it’s completely free to sign up. Zipcar, on the other hand, charges monthly or yearly fees for you to fully access the platform. Zipcars also must be left at designated ZipCar locations, making car2go’s policy far more flexible.

So what happens after November 12? Car2go isn’t going away — rather, it’s adapting and changing.

The Future of Car2go

Closeup of MercedesCar2go has been in the news throughout 2019 for pulling its operations from a handful of major cities, including Austin, Portland, Denver, San Diego, and Toronto. By December, its fleet of cars will no longer be in Chicago either.

While this news may seem bleak, it’s actually the start of a brand new chapter. Daimler AG, the parent company that owns car2go, is set to focus on high-demand markets around the world — and it won’t do so alone. Daimler AG is actually banding together with BMW Group, the owner of DriveNow (car2go’s direct competitor), to create and operate a brand new solution: SHARE NOW.

Starting November, car2go and DriveNow’s fleets will combine to offer users even more car-sharing options around the world.

How Will SHARE NOW Work?

SHARENOW homepage, formerly Car2goIf you currently use car2go on a recurring basis, the good news is that you’ll still get the majority of your favorite features through SHARE NOW. Vehicles can still be picked up 24/7 throughout SHARE NOW’s operating areas — called Home Areas — and dropped off at most legal on-street parking spots. Just as car2go members are used to, your car insurance and fuel will be covered in the cost of your ride.

Here are three key differences between car2go and SHARE NOW:

  1. You’ll use the SHARE NOW app. You can currently use the car2go app to book DriveNow vehicles and vice versa, as long as you have accounts with both platforms. However, SHARE NOW will launch a single-platform app on November 12. If you create a car2go account on this registration page by submitting your personal information and driver’s license information, your account will automatically be registered with SHARE NOW.
  2. Trips will be fully smartphone operated. SHARE NOW will actually remove the car2go fleet’s digital screens, which are currently used to start and end trips. Instead, users must begin and end trips by inputting their PIN on their smartphone. Bluetooth will soon be needed to operate all vehicles, and some of the vehicles are also keyless.
  3. You’ll have far more car rental options. In addition to car2go’s fleet of Mercedes-Benz cars and Smart Fortwo vehicles, you’ll have access to DriveNow’s BMWs and MINI Coopers. In total, this will give you access to over 20,000 cars, including over 3,200 electric vehicles. This makes SHARE NOW the largest provider of free-floating vehicles in the world.

Where Will SHARE NOW Be Available?

As SHARE NOW brings together all of car2go and DriveNow’s markets, you should expect the service to be available in 31 European and North American cities across 14 countries. More locations may be announced later. So far, the locations include:

  • Berlin, Germany
  • Budapest, Hungary
  • Hamburg, Germany
  • London, England
  • New York City
  • Paris, France
  • Rome, Italy
  • Washington, D.C.

SHARE NOW’s Sister BrandsSHARE NOW partner brands

The car-sharing company SHARE NOW is just the start of Daimler AG and BMW Group’s mission to reinvent mobility for global consumers. Since the announcement of their joint venture, the automakers have created five unique brands, which each focus on a single mobility concept under the pseudonym “YOUR NOW.” While we’ve already discussed the SHARE NOW’s platform and REACH NOW (a trip-planning solution) is now defunct, we’ll introduce you to SHARE NOW’s three active sister brands as follows:

FREE NOW

FREE NOW is a group of on-demand ride-hailing companies based in European countries like Ireland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, and the United Kingdom. To best compete with Uber, regional ridesharing and taxi brands like Beat, Clever Taxi, and Kapten now operate as independent apps associated with FREE NOW. Unlike SHARE NOW, FREE NOW has not announced any plans to create a merged FREE NOW app.

PARK NOW

PARK NOW combines smaller four companies — ParkNow, ParkMobile, RingGo, and ParkLine — on one platform to help drivers book parking spaces with a variety of amenities. This merger makes PARK NOW a huge contender among companies that have been dubbed as the “Airbnbs of parking.”

CHARGE NOW

While SHARE NOW’s other ventures are the results of mergers between pre-existing brands, CHARGE NOW was a BMW-initiated venture unique to the YOUR NOW joint venture. This brand connects users to over 100,000 electric vehicle charging points throughout nine markets, which is particularly helpful for anyone who frequently rents electric vehicles from SHARE NOW. It’s currently available in countries like Brazil and Hong Kong, but enrollment appears to be indefinitely closed for countries including the United States and Canada.

SHARE NOW Pros and Cons

When you join SHARE NOW, you’ll be one of the earliest adopters of the world’s largest provider of car sharing vehicles that you can pick up and park just about anywhere. This doesn’t just mean you’ll have access to one of the most convenient car rental services around. It also means you’ll have a huge selection of high-end vehicles and electric vehicles to choose from for your short-term ride.

The biggest downside to SHARE NOW is it won’t be affordable for your vacations, since you’re getting charged by the minute (even when you aren’t using the car). Plus, since your car always needs to be in the Home Area to end a trip, you won’t want to take it far.

Still, SHARE NOW is a money-saving solution for running errands around the city. For these short-term trips, this option is cheaper than car ownership.

Frequently Asked Questions

BMW speeding down roadAs car2go becomes a part of SHARE NOW, alongside DriveNow, greater car-sharing options are coming. Here are some frequently asked questions to help you understand more about the joint venture:

1. How much will SHARE NOW rentals cost?

While exact rates aren’t listed on SHARE NOW’s website since the merged SHARE NOW platform hasn’t launched yet, you can expect them to be fairly similar to car2go’s current rates.

For reference, Car2go currently requires a one-time sign-up payment of $5, a driver protection fee of $1, and per-minute rates of 35 cents to 45 cents for Smart cars or 39 cents to 55 cents for Mercedes-Benz cars.

Regardless, rates should still be very affordable, as SHARE NOW’s homepage mentions their car-sharing service costs 70% less than owning your own vehicle.

2. If I refuel while using my car2go vehicle, can I get reimbursed?

Yes. If you run low on fuel during your trip, car2go will reimburse you in car2go credit if you email a picture of the receipt, your car’s license plate number, and your trip time to [email protected] as a commitment to their promise of no required refueling. Because you won’t get actual cash back, the company recommends only filling up to $5 or as much as you need to get to your destination. The fuel you use must have an octane rating of 91 or higher (typically premium fuel).

This policy is active until car2go and DriveNow are officially merged into one app, so SHARE NOW will likely have its own policy for reimbursement.

3. What parking spots are off-limits for my car2go vehicles?

Car2go and DriveNow vehicles cannot be left at off-street parking spaces. This means you are not allowed to drop off your car in parking garages or at shopping center lots since these cars can be towed for being left overnight or even long periods of time.

Of course, your on-street parking must be legal. This means no parking is allowed in prohibited areas or metered spaces.

Claim Your Spot Behind the Wheel

With car2go, you’ve already taken control of your temporary ride to reach your destination. As car2go merges with DriveNow to create SHARE NOW, your favorite car-sharing options will be available in markets worldwide and your vehicle options will only increase.

If short-term rentals just aren’t cutting it, you may want to consider a more long-term solution. While car-sharing companies like SHARE NOW often focus on convenient trips for one day, you still have options. Learn about your long-term car rental options in our guide.