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Rent a car by the minute

Imagine you paid for your car on a meter-like basis - like being in a taxi, with no other cost. Well that’s basically what Daimler are planning to offer drivers prepared to give up being car owners.

Daimler's Car2go service rents Smart cars by the minute in Austin, Texas, and the German town of Ulm. The firm will soon be adding Hamburg to its roster and is in talks with ‘dozens’ more cities in Europe and North America.

The German-based firm face competition from Hertz and Zipcar in an industry likely to be worth $7 billion in revenue in Europe and North America by 2016 according to one study. This reflects a change in attitudes, particularly among people in their 20s and 30s, who see few upsides to car ownership

Where Car2go is different from regular rentals is that it allows consumers to rent by the minute rather than the hour. As long as any trip is less than 150 miles, it doesn’t charge for distance. Users can end a rental anywhere in the city's operating area – so one-way rentals are usually the norm.

‘The trend to mobility as a service is reality, and we made the decision to be at the forefront,’ Car2go chief Henrich said in an interview. ‘We are serious about this market.’

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