CHAdeMO-compatible Citroën C-ZEROs: Zero Emissions Car-Sharing in Berlin

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A fleet of 350 Citroën C-ZEROs for use for Berliners takes away the need of owning a car, while ensuring comfortable and emissions-free city travelling. Launched on August 30th, 2012, Citroën’s Multicity project is unique in that it is one of the very few carsharing schemes in Germany that is 100% based on electric vehicles. Not only are the cars electric, but all the electricity that they are powered with is from renewable sources. This is ensured by using TÜV SÜD-certified RWE ePOWER network that deliver uniquely electricity coming from a mix of wind and hydro power.

Registration for Multicity costs only €9.90 and can be done in one of 14 customer centres. With an ID and a driving license, you can get a magnetic card that can then be used to open any of the Multicity cars. Flashing the card in front of the reader located under the front windscreen opens the doors. You grab the key from the glove compartment and drive away.

The system is based on a pay-as-you go principle and the ordinary price is €0.28 per minute. If you opt for one of the pre-paid cards (100, 250 or 500 minutes), the per minute price can be as little as €0.2, or €12.00 per hour. There is no additional price for the number of kilometers driven - the electricity to power the car is included and so is insurance and parking for public car parks. Multicity sets no minimum / maximum time that the car has to be used. Users can take the car for how long (or short!) they want: after 4 hours of use the price reaches €39.00, at which point the counter stops and this one-day price is what you pay for the day.

When you want to rent a car, you simply have to look at the map of the smart phone application or the web site detailing the real-time location of available vehicles. If you do not have access to any of these, you can simply call the 24/7 hotline and get the information. When you find a car nearby, you can keep it reserved for 15 minutes free of charge.

Unlike the Autolib EV car-sharing service in Paris, there is no restriction of location for dropping the car off after use. The C-ZERO can be left at any public car park in the city and wait for the next user to pick it up. The only provision is that there has to be more than 20% of the power left in the battery. When the battery charge level oscillates between 10-20%, the car should be left next to a charging station; otherwise the cost of escorting the car to a charging spot will be invoiced. Since the power left in the battery determines the range of the car, and because less than 20% means limited kilometers and “range anxiety” for the users, the minute the system detects a car with less than 20% of full battery, it takes the car off the map of available vehicles so that the car in question cannot be booked until it is charged again by the Multicity team.

Another advantage of Multicity from the city perspective is the fact that the charging infrastructure is relatively light: Multicity uses 200 AC chargers and 4 CHAdeMO DC fast chargers only, the latter in particular for the cars that need a quick energy top-up during the day. Because Citroën C-ZEROs are CHAdeMO compatible, batteries with less than 20% of power can be quickly made available for the subscribers, increasing convenience and turnaround of the vehicles.

According to Car-Sharing fact sheet by Intelligent Energy, every car-shared vehicle replaces 4 to 8 personal vehicles on city roads. By reducing the number of cars on city roads, car-sharing schemes free parking space in cities, decrease congestion, car-related pollution and noise and, most importantly, reduce CO2 emissions. EV-based car-sharing systems have even higher CO2 reduction potential than their internal combustion engine car equivalents. Powered with energy that equals an average of 3.5-7 g of CO2 emissions per kilometer driven compared with a similar category combustion vehicle’s 109 g of CO2 per km1, Multicity’s C-ZEROs offer its users a real zero-emission drive with all the convenience of conventional vehicles.

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