Sad news: Car2Go (ShareNow) is shutting down its North American operations (and pulling out of a few European cities like London and Florence).
The company cited operational costs and the lack of necessary infrastructure to support new technology, like electric vehicle car-sharing, for the decision.
The company says it has more than 230,000 users in Vancouver.
“Vancouver was really very, very attractive for Car2Go,” Gordon Price of the SFU Centre for Dialogue said. “We were the car-sharing capital of North America, maybe the world. It wasn’t true in the rest of North America.
We made the switch to car-share when we scrapped our car with an incentive from the Province – for a year of Car2Go! Loved it, especially the SmartCar which could fit into those tiny left-over spaces in the West End.
Along with Evo and Modo, Car2Go was making a difference: Vancouverites in dense neighbourhoods were making the switch. There was even sign of ‘share-turation’ on some blocks. (Hopefully, Evo and Modo can fill some of the void.)
Losing money over time is never a winning business strategy, but Daimler (Car2Go’s parent) strategy may have been to dominate the market prior to the availability of autonomous cars. They got the timing wrong on that (indeed, it may be a lot longer before self-driving cars are seen in dense, complex cities) and are moving away from research and development of autonomous vehicles elsewhere.
It doesn’t always pay to be first.