Edit May 2020: Both Zipcar and Car2Go are no longer operating in Vancouver. Check out the remaining car-sharing services in Vancouver here.
Zipcar and Car2Go are car-sharing companies with international operations. They both have fleets of 10,000+ vehicles, and 10+ year histories. However, although it seems like a valid comparison on the surface, Zipcar vs Car2Go is actually like comparing apples and oranges. You shouldn’t, as they’re different things.
Zipcar vs Car2Go – General service
Zipcar and Car2Go are designed to be used in different ways.
Zipcar is a decentralised car rental service, where you can reserve a car in advance and book by the hour or day. Zipcar is similar to traditional car rental but a bit more convenient and flexible. But you don’t need to visit an office to pick up the vehicle, and you can book for a shorter time period.
Car2Go is also decentralised like Zipcar, however you can use it on a minute to minute basis. Car2Go is meant for short duration rentals around urban areas. You reserve a car a maximum of 30 minutes in advance. It becomes uneconomical to use like a traditional car rental service.
Zipcar vs Car2Go – 2-way and 1-way
Zipcar is a 2-way car sharing service and Car2Go is a 1-way car sharing service.
This means that Zipcar is like a conventional car rental service, in that you need to drop off the car where you picked it up from. Although this will be a designated roadside parking space and not a car rental office.
Car2Go is not like a conventional car rental service, as you can pick the car up from one location and drop it at another location. However the drop-off must be inside a ‘home zone’ or at a special car park outside the ‘home zone’.
Zipcar vs Car2Go – Location availability
Zipcar has around 12,000 vehicles spread over 1100 locations. Car2Go has about 14,000 vehicles in 25 locations. This means that Car2Go has a much higher concentration of vehicles relative to Zipcar, for a given location.
This makes sense, as if you want a car for a short duration trip (minutes, not hours), you won’t be willing to go very far to get it. If you want a longer term car hire, you’re probably more willing to travel a bit further to pick it up.
Zipcar vs Car2Go – Vehicles
Zipcar and Car2Go both offer a range of vehicles. However Car2Go offers mainly the SmartForTwo 2 seater, and two types of Mercedes 5-seaters. Whereas Zipcar offers a broader range from compacts to SUVs to vans. This reflects the fact that Zipcar is meant to be used for a wider range of longer term rentals, whereas Car2Go is meant for short-term dashes around town.
Zipcar vs Car2Go – which service is right for you?
If you need a car rental for at least a few hours or days, multiple times a year, perhaps a different vehicle type (car/van), in different locations around N. America and Europe, consider Zipcar. Membership has a small recurring monthly overhead, but the vehicles are useful
If you will be staying mainly in urban areas, and need a complimentary service to public transport, or to replace your own car, consider Car2Go. Packages are available so that you can get the best deal when renting for minutes, an hour, multiple hours, or multiple days.
Zipcar vs Car2Go – Promo code & free minutes
If you think Zipcar and Car2Go may be worth while signing up to, I encourage you to do so using the following codes. They will give you reduced cost sign-up and/or free minutes/credit.
- Zipcar promo code – ‘https://refer.zipcar.com /s/luke34’,
get to Zipcar here.
- Car2Go promo code- ‘JOINC2GVAN_luke@brightaroundthecorner.com’,
get to Car2Go here.
The above codes are part of ‘refer a friend’ schemes and will give me some minutes credit to use for car sharing. If you do choose to sign up with this code, I will massively appreciate it, and consider it a small thanks for the reviews on the site.