San Diego’s Car2Go Fleet Switching From Electric To Gas Cars Due To Lack Of Charging Infrastructure

1 year ago by Mark Kane 35

Electric car2go

Electric car2go

Smart Demonstrates Why Its EV Isn't Meant For The Country...And Why SUVs Should Stay Out Of The City

car2go’s smart ED in San Diego hit obstacle

It was late 2011 when Daimler’s car2go launched in San Diego – the all-electric car sharing rental in North America.

But now soon the EV project will turn to ICE, due apparently to a scarce charging infrastructure.

Car2Go originally used 300 electric smarts (from an early pilot fleet developed and produced with Tesla – not the current generation sold by Daimler), and using charging infrastructure installed by ECOtality.

Well, as we know, ECOtality went bankrupt and never actually delivered the previously announced number of charging points (there is only 400 out of 1,000 planned), and the Car Charging Group that acquired ECOtality assets now also is bleeding with cash, and we don’t know even know exactly what is happening as the quarterly reports are highly delayed.

Anyway, car2go was left with not a strong enough charging infrastructure, and new players comes to San Diego with their car sharing investments (for conventional propulsion).


Car2Go: We’re just not able to keep the cars charged


Despite that in 2015 car2go switched from early Tesla smarts ED to new ones (and expanded the fleet to 400), produced by Daimler in France (without Tesla battery packs), the short answer/solve is to switch the rental from pure electric to pure gas and lower the pricing.

“A fully charged Smart Car running on electric can travel a maximum of 65 miles, while a fully fueled Smart Car running on gas can go 342 miles, she said.

In San Diego, an average of 20 percent of Car2Go’s fleet is unavailable at any given time because the cars are either being charged or because they don’t have enough electricity in them to be driven.”

ECOtality is offering free chargers plus a $400 installation credit for consumers with Nissan LEAF's and Chevy Volts

ECOtality charging infrastrucutre

One of the latest infrastructure projects, with 3,500 charging spots, announced by SDG&E will apparently not be quick enough or not focused enough on car sharing to keep electric car2go in the city.

City Councilman Todd Gloria said:

“It’s a lesson to all of us that we have to work harder to build the infrastructure necessary to support electric vehicles and other transportation modes,”.

Nicole Capretz, a consultant who was the primary author of the city’s climate plan said:

“This is a step backward, so we have to regroup and figure out some new solutions,”

Car2Go spokeswoman Dacyl Armendariz said:

“What we expected as far as charging infrastructure versus what we were delivered just hasn’t added up,”

“We’re just not able to keep the cars charged, and people aren’t able to charge them on their own. We’re still committed to electric vehicles — it works in some of our cities in Europe where they have more robust charging infrastructure. We just don’t have the infrastructure we need here to make it work now.”

Josh Moskowitz, a Car2Go regional manager, said:

“We’re keeping the door open when it comes to an electric vehicle fleet,”

Car2Go – for now, you are dead to us.

source: San Diego Union-Tribune

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

35 responses to "San Diego’s Car2Go Fleet Switching From Electric To Gas Cars Due To Lack Of Charging Infrastructure"

  1. Robster1979 says:

    In Amsterdam the electric car2go fleet is going strong with a plethora of charging points. What a shame in San Diego after five years

  2. kdawg says:

    Why don’t they buy a bunch of Volts, then they are covered.

    1. Someone out there says:

      Why would Daimler buy a competitors car? That would be quite embarrassing

  3. Big Solar says:

    this is pitiful

  4. Paul says:

    Even with a generous amount of charge stations the service duty cycle in this application is not suitable for any pure EV at this time. EVs are great for personal use but not fleet or delivery uses.

    1. Will says:

      And yet, 3 comments above yours is someone saying that electric fleets work fine in the Netherlands, where trips are shorter and there are LOOOOADS more charging points. So I have no clue why you’re saying EVs are not good for fleet hire; they’re fine.

    2. martinwinlow says:

      … and, further more, in 2015 in the UK 5% of new fleet cars were plug-ins (albeit a lot were/are probably Outlanders!).

      I suspect the issue here was that the cost of infrastructure was based on crazy expensive dedicated Level 2 chargers at US$5k a pop (including installation) when a simple weatherised 220V socket would have done just as well… and cost 1/10th as much. MW

  5. Ocean Railroader says:

    If you look at things the construction of DC Quick chargers has been hideously slow in the United States in a lot of cases you only see one or two new quick chargers being built every five weeks and in some cases you can go weeks with out ever seeing a new one pop up on plug share. At the same time a lot of them never work and are falling out of repair off the map.

    1. scott franco says:

      Would not matter here if there were a DCFC station every 5 feet. The smart cannot fast charge…

  6. David Murray says:

    While disappointing, I fully understand. When I got my first Leaf back in 2011, I fully expected that we would have 10X the charging infrastructure in 2016 than we ended up having.

  7. Jared says:

    I disagree with the theme of posts here. I have first-hand experience using Car-to-go’s EV fleet in San Diego. Both times we visited, we had NO PROBLEM finding cars, at any time. It was so great, we could get around in EV’s for the entire trip! And, it was wonderful way of spreading the EV gospel, and giving people experiences behind the wheel (kind of a test drive experience). We used their service exclusively for the entire trips. Wherever we were in the city, when we pulled up the app, there were many cars very close to us (ususally within 1 block! They were everywhere), charged and ready to go…. They sent me an email announcing the abandonment of EV’s. In it, they said at any given time 20% of the fleet was unavailable. They also said that with an ICE fleet this number would be just under 10%. Is that really a deal-breaker? Like I said, we had NO ISSUE. So I’m puzzled by this, and suspect there’s more to this than they let on. I’m extremely disappointed in their behavior here, and plan to write to the company. It’s a regressive move, and I’m leaning towrads never using their service again, anywhere.

  8. Reddy says:

    The real reason: Blink started charging for TIME plugged in! These cars were ALWAYS plugged in, except when being used. Thus, they were probably generating huge fees for being plugged in (and not charging because they were full) waiting for the next user.

    1. Dragon says:

      That sounds like a reasonable possibility. Since car2go pays for the fuel, I suspect it also has to do with ridiculously cheap gas prices in the US making it save less money to use electricity instead of gas. Sure wish we’d tax gas at the levels they do in Europe.

  9. ModernMarvelFan says:

    That is why Tesla build its own…

  10. Alex says:

    @ insideevs: today Outlander PHEV US version presentation, no news?

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Sorry, the Mitsu report will be up “soon-ish”, it got bumped back a little bit as very little actual “news” accompanied the car on the NY floor

      …been working to try and get some “+1” information to add to the piece, but not had a heck of a lot luck today

  11. SparkEV says:

    Business case doesn’t make sense. So you leave your car plugged into charger until someone rents it. Meanwhile, other EV drivers will come and see this thing plugged in all the time, even with full charge.

    Unless they have their own EVSE that’s exclusively for their use, it’s no good. That exclusivity will then cost a bundle, which makes for poor business case.

    1. SparkEV says:

      By the way, I wonder how WaiveCar operates. Do they also let those “free to rent” SparkEV sit even with full charge?

  12. Syrinx says:

    I’m sorry to see this happen, though the only reason I have a Car2Go card is so that I could move these cars when I visit San Diego to plug my RAV 4 EV in to charge.

    1. SparkEV says:

      LOL! I can’t tell if you’re serious or joking. But it’s funny either way.

    2. none says:

      I find the same problem. These darn cars always clog up all of the chargers. It seems that they are ALWAYS in the way when I look for a charger. Amazing that they only go 65 miles on a charge – but spend 365 days a year at the charger…just sitting there preventing anyone else from charging.

  13. Ken says:

    1. Smart Ed has no quick charge capabilty (chademo nor ccs combo)
    2. Smart Ed has a slow 3.3kw charger
    3. You charge an ev in your driveway at home when you sleep. You don’t “fuel up” throughout the day like when you’re driving an ice vehicle.
    4. Bl!nk (carcharginggroup) chargers are slow 4 to 5kw max even if the car could pull more. Also, Bl!nk chargers are the least reliable charging stations. More than half of them in my area don’t work and they takes months to be repaired if at all. Can u imagine what would happen if half the gas stations you pulled into didnt work? People would get pissed really quick. Good thing we can charge at home.
    5. Do i need another reason?

    I hope these things sell used for nothing because ive always wanted a smart ed to add to my Leaf and iMiev ev fleet. Did they have any convertible smarts? Thats the one i want. Used Convertible Smart ED are as rare as hens teeth on the east coast unless you buy a brand new one.

    1. scott franco says:

      “Bl!nk (carcharginggroup) chargers are slow 4 to 5kw max even if the car could pull more. Also, Bl!nk chargers are the least reliable charging stations. More than half of them in my area don’t work and they takes months to be repaired if at all. Can u imagine what would happen if half the gas stations you pulled into didnt work?”

      Plugshare.com is your friend. When I am on the road and know I will need a charge, I use it contantly to get status on stations.

      1. Ken says:

        Im well aware of plugshare. Ive been a member since 2012. I was also a member of the Mini E owners charging map back in 2009. I check the reviews before i drive to a public charging station. I have plugshare, recargo,semaconnect,wattstation,nrg,greenlots, chargepoint,blink, and ev connect apps on my phone. Im a member of 5 different charging networks.
        I was just merely stating that the Bl!nk stations are junk! The plugs are cheap and were melting, so their solution was to turn the charging stations down to 5kw rather than replace the light duty connectors. Also, even though ecotality got millions from the federal government, they never installed half of the charging stations they were supposed to. And carcharging group isnt doing a whole lot better. They contacted me to test out a new chademo station for them. I drove 85 miles to it only to determine it didnt work. So i had to spend almost 5 hours on their substandard level 2 just to get back home. What a joke! And i applied for their “free” charger at work program. They wanted $2,000 for installation. No thanks. Said “well, we have to hire union electricians and thats the minimum install cost” The 40 amp breaker and 8 feet of 8/3 wire cost me less than $50. And i bought my own charger for $399. But yet these people got millions of our hard earned tax dollars.
        Chargepoint and Semaconnect have been much easier to deal with. I dont understand why my home charger and my parents home charger that get used every single day since 2009 have nit skipped a beat but these public chargers are always broke. Im not easy on mine either as my car is driven 25k miles a year and many visitors have stopped by to use my home station. Maybe its because its one of the original clipper creeks from 2009 (cs-40).

  14. Rick Bronson says:

    The Smart EV is a compliance car. So using it in Car2Go is another green-washing.

    We are just waiting for standard Electric/Plugins like Volt, Bolt, PIP, Ioniq to hit the markets and that will give a boost to the sales.

    1. HeisenberghtNUTS says:

      It is not just a compliance car, it is even worse. Designed to fail. Keeping the meme alive that EV can not work, not even in the city.

      Daimler is in no way interested to produce any positive news about EV. The money they are spending to replace the fleet of EV with a fleet of ICE could be used to strengthen the charging network. They just don’t want to. I hope the used EV go to the market, if not car 2go should pay back all incentives…

      As someone pointed out above, customers were satisfied. As someone else pointed out, cheaper charging spots would make sense. 20% of unavailability sounds a lot, but is it really? Maintenance cost for ice will be higher. Also a 10% increase in battery capacity would already help a lot. Could that be achieved by replacing the battery packs with up to date chemistry cells?

  15. Bill Howland says:

    I like the Smart42EV but the battery is too small. Coupled with either a 3.3 kw, (or on some models a 3.0 !!! – and then even SLOWER when charging at a typical 200 volt docking station) charger, this tipped the balance away from EV’s. Too bad they have gone TOTALLY Away.

    I thought San Diego, what with its ‘million dollar homes’ and California’s seemingly ‘docking stations on every block’ would make this work, where it can’t work around where I live since we don’t have California’s interest in EV’s (other than 1 or 2 here and there -)

    Unfortunately, sometimes these ‘experiments’ end up making people “hate” evs.

    I had to rent a chevy cruze a year ago, and Geico used a collocated Enterprise Rentacar facility. This facility HAD an EVSE but it had been recently ripped out, and I asked the manager for his opinion of EV’s, and why Enterprise didn’t rent them any longer.

    “We had a lot of Leafs. But there is no car that has had any where near as much trouble for us as the Leaf. They’d constantly go dead, People would get stranded – we had to hire extra part time people to pick up the DOA cars, then try to charge them up and get people into regular gasoline powered cars. Talk about making extra work and losing money. I’m glad they’re gone and don’t want them back!”.

    And this is the Manager of a big car rental store. His opinion is very influential.

    If only they had used VOLTS or some other PHEV that would have avoided all the stranding. That would have left a more pleasant experience in his mind.

  16. Mikael says:

    Interesting. Autolib in Paris and other cities in France is a huge success: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autolib%27
    Having its own charging infrastructure is probably the key.

  17. DGM73 says:

    Car2go in Madrid, 350 Smart Ev, is going strong and growing since launch last year. Madrid has basically zero charging infraestructure. All charging points for the car2go fleet are installed and used exclusively by them.

  18. Filip says:

    Well they have to suit them selves. They should have thought it all through installing charging stations and introducing the cars at the same time. They need at least 10kW charging stations as well..

    1. martinwinlow says:

      “They need at least 10kW charging stations as well..” Why? What evidence do you base this on? If the cars are being used all day long, fair enough. Bu realistically, at this early stage, like most cars, they will be sat doing nothing for a large portion of the time. I’d be very interested to know what proportion of the time that is but it could be that only relatively low power charging would have sufficed but too much money was wasted on high power charging and consequently no-where near enough of it was provided to allow the system to work. MW

  19. martinwinlow says:

    Stand by for a glut of cheap, used Smart EDs!! MW

  20. Gene Baker says:

    I have worked in the EVSE industry for the last four years. The charging infrastructure of the future will end up being level 1 or 2(15 amp)charging at home. Battery technology will improve and you’ll be able to add 200-300 miles of range overnight.

    The main reason for the lack of EV Charging infrastructure is cost. The average cost to purchase and install a level II ChargePoint or SemaConnect dual head station is $20,000. $8,000 for the station and $12,000 for installation. Monthly cellular connection fees run $25 per plug.

    The average cost to purchase and install a level III Efacec station is $50,000($20,000 for the station and $30,000 for installation. Monthly cellular connection fees also run $25k per plug

    Unless you’re Tesla, Apple, Google, Facebook or NRG(paying off a $100M fine) most companies don’t have $20,000-$50,000 in their budget to purchase and install charging stations that benefit a small % of employees. Even if their EV driving population doubles it’s difficult to convince them to spend another $20,000 to add more stations.

    Companies like Uber and Lyft need to drive the next wave of EV adoption

    The EV industry should not try and replace a driver’s primary ICE vehicle. They should focus on being the second car, the “around town car.”

    A 2013 Leaf sells for about $11K. It might be low enough to drive second car demand.

    1. Bill Howland says:

      Gene, I don’t understand the comment you made, that most home charging will be Level 1 or Level 2 (15 amp), and then that overnight charging will add 200-300 miles per night.

      The bolt claims to ‘add’ 200 miles when charging at 32 amps for 9 hours. To do that at 15 amps would require 20 hours. That is a very long night.

  21. Lee says:

    Was this the only company in the world capable of putting charging stations throughout the city? How about Benz putting up a few bucks to complete the system? What a bunch of crap!