Daimler is withdrawing its Car2go car-sharing scheme from Britain as of tomorrow (Friday), citing "the UK's strong culture of private vehicle ownership" as the reason why the project hasn't worked in this country.
The city-based Car2go scheme – a collaboration between Daimler and Europcar – provides a pool of Smart Fortwo micro cars that can be accessed at any time by registered users.
Drivers locate vehicles using a smartphone app, access the cars via a card reader on the windscreen, pay for usage by the minute and are free to park the car anywhere within the city centre limits at the end of their rental.
The first pilot scheme was launched in Germany in 2008. It reached London in December 2012 and Birmingham in May 2013, the latter as a one-year trial. UK users paid 35p per minute to use the cars.
The scheme operated across three boroughs in London, and in a statement Car2go said it had encountered logistical difficulties in co-ordinating across the capital: "The unique challenges we encountered were more significant than expected".