Only recently Smart launched its package service "ready to drop", now ignites the Mercedes subsidiary to the next stage. With "ready to share", smart drivers can easily leave their cars to friends, acquaintances or colleagues when they do not need it themselves, and do not even have to hand over the key themselves. Made possible by the technology that also uses the car-to-go fleet.
In selected cities (including Stuttgart, Cologne and Berlin), smart drivers have recently had their city runabout equipped with a connectivity box. The Smart can then be opened via the small box behind the windshield via a smartphone app - so the DHL courier can place a package in the trunk. Now, Smart is extending this pilot test with another function: anyone who already uses "ready-to-drop" can also use the same hardware to set up their own, small car-sharing system. Using the app, smart owners can choose when they want to rent their cars and then invite people to access the calendar. Still, every potential tenant must be added personally, so that the "clientele" initially limited to family, friends or colleagues in a small business. Later, this calendar could also be publicly available - for example, via Daimler's additional car-sharing service Croove or via Facebook.
In addition to the available times can be set in the app also a price for the rental: either, you leave the car for free, at cost price - the car automatically calculated based on the current fuel prices - or even with a small premium to earn money , So it should sooner or later be possible to earn, for example, the complete leasing rate with just a few driving a month. The system can even be programmed to only charge money until a preset total is reached. Because: Who takes more money with the rental, as it costs the car at all, slips quickly into the commercial sector. This should at least be clarified with the tax office in order to avoid nasty surprises. In addition to the price, a home zone can be defined in which the car must be parked again after the trip; that, too, will only really be interesting if you leave your car to others on a larger scale. Initially, formalities such as the place of storage or who pays the fuel bill are more likely to be regulated on the short service route between owner and driver.
If you have released your Smart for hire and one of the invited Car-Sharing participants wants to use the car, they can book it through the app - depending on the setting, the booking may need to be confirmed by the owner. He can also cancel it at any time, if he needs the smart himself. Just before the agreed rental period, the user learns the exact location of the car; Once there, he can unlock it via his smartphone. For the time being, the usual way is to start by key, which has to be deposited in the car. Without the previous unlocking by app, the key is useless, that is, if someone breaks the car, he still can not start the engine. An advantage for the owner: In the future, he can always leave the car key at home, because as an owner, he does not need to book the car, of course, but can open it at any time via app and rush off with the key.
At least as long as the pilot is running - while the retrofit of the connectivity box and the provision of services is incidentally free - Smart also provides a fully comprehensive insurance for all car sharing drivers. How the future with the insurance industry is regulated, is still open - but show the big insurance companies, according to Smart great interest in the CarSharing issue. Also, the final price model for the connectivity box and the "ready-to" offers is not yet in the towel. However, Smart assumes a rather low cost. (Michael Gebhardt / SP-X)