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Membership opens for EV car-sharing service in San Diego

Car2Go opens up the membership rosters for its newest U.S. location, and for a limited time, it's free to join.

An electric Smart ForTwo.
An electric Smart ForTwo. Car2Go

Car-sharing service Car2Go is open for business in San Diego. Starting today, prospective members can sign up to join the service and receive 30 minutes of free drive time in one of the electric Smart ForTwos in the fleet.

The Daimler-owned transportation startup is seeding San Diego with a fleet of all-electric two seaters that members can rent by the minute. Rates start at $0.35 per minute and are $12.99 per hour with a $65.99 maximum per day. Members can travel up to 150-miles per day in a rental. After that, it's 45 cents per mile. But keep in mind, the electric Smart ForTwo, which is produced by Daimler, has an electric range of approximately 84 miles per charge.

Car2Go is similar to rival ZipCar with a few notable exceptions: the fleet consists entirely of electric Smart ForTwos, vehicles are free-floating, and reservations are open-ended. This means you can drop off your rental in any valid public parking spot within the operating zone, and there's no racing home to avoid late charges and face an impatiently waiting reservation holder.

Although membership is currently free during this introductory period, after the promotion expires membership will require a one-time $35 fee. Members can locate and reserve vehicles online or using the Find2Car Android app or Get2Car iPhone app.

It doesn't appear that there are any vehicles available at the moment, but it will be interesting to see how an all-electric free-floating car share fares in a city. Car2Go has said that most of its vehicles are driven less than 6 miles in a day, and vehicles will be repositioned each night, and likely parked in one of the many Blink EV charging stations being installed throughout the downtown area. The company doesn't anticipate many drivers will start out or wind up with a dead battery, but with any rental vehicle, you never know what kind of abuse they may face.