17. April 2014–
There are plenty of ways to travel around the city of Berlin. CEO of CiteeCar Bill Jones describes it himself in an interview: “…there is a really good public transport system here. You can’t walk around the block without tripping over a car2go. There are taxis everywhere. There are lots of bicycle lanes. So, if you live in this city, there are many ways you can get around the city and commute.”
Despite all the transportation alternatives, however, car sharing service CiteeCar is ready to make its mark. CiteeCar is a Berlin-based two-year-old business aimed at giving people who live in congested cities a way to reap the benefits of a car without actually owning one. Before you think “car2go”, according to Jones, there are distinct differences which make car2go “not in any way competitive” with the CiteeCar model.
CiteeCar is targeting people who take longer trips from between four to five hours and who cover a distance between 50 to 70 kilometers. It is also a round trip model. So, unlike car2go, you will have to drop the car off where you found it. The price, however, might be the most appealing difference. Driving with CiteeCar can cost as little as €1/hour, whereas with car2go it is around €17/hour. CiteeCar achieves this by having “CiteeHosts” that are given a CiteeCar in return for providing a parking solution that makes the car accessible to other drivers.
“Catalysts” For Change in Urban Mobility
Jones predicts: “The use of a shared car or the multiple use of cars is going to become the mainstream part of a lot of people’s lifestyle, and we see that starting to happen now. Up to now, it is still very niche, and we think we on the verge of making this much more mainstream.” Jones refers to companies that are contributing to this shift in behavior and attitude to how we commute as “catalysts”.
When asked about how CiteeCar competes with car2go, Jones says, “ I think car2go is one of the best things that could have happened to CiteeCar, because, being a Daimler Benz supported model, it has created a tremendous amount of noise and interest in the principle of sharing a car. The fact that they exist, from our perspective, we see as a huge positive…”
Despite the “whole range of mobility solutions emerging for people who live in cities”, CiteeCar makes clear that it does not want to replace other mobility solutions but wants to compliment them. It looks to expand its current fleet of 500 cars to 1,000 cars stationed across nine cities in Germany by the end of the year. To make this possible, CiteeCar most recently received $10 million in Series A funding from venture capital firm Mangrove Capital Partners.
With its expansion plans under way, keep your eyes peeled to see if the CiteeCar Kia Rios will soon flood the streets with the car2go smarts.
Image Credit: CiteeCar