Carsharing in Berlin
Carsharing is probably one of the hottest new trends in Berlin this year. Many carsharing companies like DriveNow, Car2go or CiteeCar offer their brand new cars for short term rent around town. It can be difficult to find the best car sharing company for your needs, so let’s compare them and see which one suits you best. We only took Car2go and DriveNow into consideration as they offer the most cars around Berlin. E.g. Deutsche Bahn offers carsharing as well, but you have to pick up and park the cars in designated parking spots, which makes their offer not flexible enough to be considered here.
DriveNow is a carsharing company operated by BMW, together with Sixt. DriveNow is available in many major German cities including Berlin, München, Düsseldorf and Hamburg. By May 2014 the company had over 2.400 cars around Germany to rent, which made DriveNow the 3rd largest carsharing company in Germany.
In Berlin, it feels like every second car on the street is one of DriveNow’s BMW 1, Mini (Coupe and Cabrio!), X1 or even ActiveE. Many people nowadays – especially younger people – don’t see the need to own a car in Berlin, as signing up with DriveNow or any other carsharing company is much cheaper.
There are 2 ways to book a car: either with the DriveNow App, or by walking past a car and opening the door with a chip that is attached to your driving licence. The DriveNow App is available for IOS as well as Android, and lets you see all available DriveNow cars around your area on a map. Just choose the one closest to you and make a reservation, which is valid for 15 mins before someone else can book that car again.
Signing up with DriveNow costs only 29€, and then you only pay 31 cents per minute to use one of their Minis, or 34 cents per minute for one of their X1s. There is even a cheaper option that will only cost 27 cents per minute if you book 500mins in advance.
DriveNow covers the most important parts of Berlin, including Berlin Tegel airport. You can park your car anywhere within the S-Bahn ring, and in some parts, like Prenzlauer Berg, even outside that ring. Of course you can use the cars outside that area, but if you park it outside the operating area you’ll have to pay a fine.
Car2go by Mercedes Benz
Car2go is a carsharing company operated by Mercedes Benz, together with Europcar. In Germany, Car2go already operates in 7 cities and offers more than 3.000 cars to rent, which offers a slightly higher density of cars around Berlin.
Whereas with DriveNow you have the choice between many different cars, that are also suitable for 4 people, Car2go exclusively has Smart cars in their fleet. So if you plan on driving to IKEA to get some new furniture, Car2go might not be your best choice. But if you only need the car to get from one place to another quite fast, you will come to love those Smarts. The old excuse that you didn’t find a parking spot won’t be valid anymore, as these Smarts fit in anywhere.
If you compare the prices of Car2go and DriveNow you will see that Car2go is slightly cheaper than DriveNow. Car2go charges only 29 cents per minute for their cars. If you plan to stop for a while you can do so and only pay 19 cents per minute, or if you need the car for one hour there is a fixed price of 14,90€.
Car2go also offers an App for IOS and Android that lets you book a car online in advance. Cars can be booked and parked anywhere within the S-Bahn ring and in some places, like Steglitz or Dahlem, even further outside.
Carsharing companies in Berlin compared
As you might have noticed already, Car2go and DriveNow offer very similar services. Both companies let you book your car via their very good Apps and both companies have around the same prices.
As Car2go only has Smarts to rent, you can’t use them if you need to transport any big luggage or if you are more than 2 people. DriveNow, on the other hand, lets you choose between different car models that can also be used for a small shopping trip to IKEA.
And last but not least, Car2go and DriveNow operate in the same areas in Berlin; Car2go having the advantage of covering a slightly bigger area. But, as you rarely need a car outside the Ring, that should not be a problem.
If you are unsure about which company to sign up with, you might consider signing up for both Car2go and DriveNow. Especially during rush hours, most cars might be in use, so having 2 options to choose from might come in handy. You will still save a lot of money, rather than constantly taking taxis, or even having your own car.
If you don’t feel like driving yourself you might want to check out how public transport in Berlin is working.