After the successful introduction of car2go in 32 cities around the world, the subsidiary of German car manufacturer Daimler AG launched its service in the central-Chinese megacity Chongqing on 15 April 2016.
With 400 cars available in a designated service area in downtown Chongqing (approx. 60 km2), it is not only the first Chinese city, but the first city in Asia to include free-floating carsharing in its urban transport system. As one of the forerunners in promoting carsharing, Chongqing can be awarded as a lighthouse for the overall development of new mobility services in China.
In comparison to conventional station-based carsharing, which is available in various Chinese cities since 2009, free-floating services do not require its users to pick up and return the vehicles at designated carsharing stations. Instead the cars can be parked on every legal parking space within a geographically defined service area. The cars can be booked up to 30 min in advance and accessed via smartphone application. The car keys are stored inside of the cars and the fuel is already included in the tariff. While car2go charges an initial registration fee of 99 RMB, the usage tariff consists of a distance fee (1.19 RMB per kilometer) as well as a time-based fee (0.59 RMB per minute). This is one of the major differences to car2go in Europe and North America, where car2go exclusively charges a time-based fee due to less intense traffic situations (e.g. 2.1 RMB per minute in Germany).
The local government in Chongqing is convinced that free-floating carsharing can contribute to the sustainable development of its urban transport system by decreasing – in combination with public and non-motorised transport – the dependency on private car ownership.
Therefore, the authorities extensively support the development of free-floating carsharing, which is a central determining factor for the feasibility of such services.
Funded by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Car2go China and GIZ jointly promote carsharing as a contribution to sustainable urban transport in China since 2014. As carsharing is still a relatively unknown service in China, the continuous dialogue with governmental decision makers on the national, provincial and local level is a first essential step towards increasing the awareness and endorsement of this new mobility service.
For more information on carsharing in China please see the following GIZ publications:
- “Fewer Cars, More Mobility: Can Carsharing Work in China?” (https://sustainabletransport.org/fewer-cars-more-mobility-can-carsharing-work-in-china/)
- “Carsharing in China – A Contribution to Sustainable Urban Transport?” (https://sustainabletransport.org/giz-publication-carsharing-in-china-a-contribution-to-sustainable-urban-transport/)