The Borrow-At-Will, Park-Anywhere Smart Car

Wednesday night, I needed to get from Georgetown to Nationals Park. I hadn’t driven there, and a bus-to-train commute would have taken 45 minutes. Instead I jumped into a Smart Fortwo I’d never seen before, scooted across the District in less than 20 minutes, and ditched the car in a metered space two blocks from the ballpark, without paying. No car theft or parking tickets were involved. Instead, I used a new car-sharing service called car2go that employs a fleet of GPS-linked, 3G-connected vehicles to allow instant, point-to-point rentals. It’s an interesting case study in what’s possible when a car knows where it is and can share its location with a network of users.