Those blue-and-white two-seater Smart Cars may be what us Austinites think of when they hear the word “carshare,” but soon we’ll have to adjust our expectations. Locally headquartered car2go announced Tuesday morning that the entire fleet of over 300 vehicles will be upgraded to new Mercedes-Benz CLA and GLA compact vehicles by the end of November.
The CLA four-door coupe and the GLA five-door compact SUV will be fully equipped with adaptive braking, blind spot assist, a rearview camera, heated seats (for those two days of Austin winter), hands-free access to the trunk, and full smartphone integration that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto — in other words, everything you need to be a highway baller. The vehicles will come in three colors: Cirrus White, Polar Silver, and a very Batman-like Night Black.
Why is Austin getting the car2go upgrade? The company’s Austin general manager James Emery explains in a release. “Austin is where it all started,” he says. “It was here where one-way carsharing was proven possible in North America, and it is here we are turning a big page in car2go’s history. Fantastic new vehicles and the easiest, most powerful app experience yet are giving Austinites the ability to travel in style, safety, and comfort while avoiding the expense and inconvenience of car ownership. Car2go even takes care of gas, insurance, and parking. We’re a big part of why quality of life in Austin is so good, and our new cars and technology help to make living and traveling in Austin even better.”
For those worried about parking the new luxury cars, the new vehicles still won’t take up much space. According to the release, both of the vehicles are shorter than a Honda Civic or a Toyota Camry. And car2go will continue covering all metered parking in its Austin home area, as well as provide VIP drop zones at music festivals like the upcoming ACL. And for a limited time, the company is offering free registration and $5 drive credit for new members with the code ATXBENZ.