Update March 2020: Car2Go are no longer operating in Vancouver. Most text for Evo is still relevant so I’ve left the article up as a reference guide for Evo still.
The big names in one-way car sharing in Vancouver are BCAA Evo Car Share and Car2Go. Aside from the look of the cars, it’s not really clear what the differences between the two companies are. So we’re going to take an in-depth look at both operations. Read on to find out who wins the one-way car sharing showdown, Evo vs Car2Go.
Evo vs Car2Go – The companies
BCAA Evo car share are an offshoot of their parent company BCAA, the BC insurance and auto services provider. They were founded in 2015, which makes them the youngest car sharing company in Vancouver. Evo brand themselves as, “Car sharing made for BC”, which is accurate; they exist only in the Vancouver market and their hybrid cars are designed to suit some stereotypical BC activities (biking and snowsports).
Evo has a fleet of over 1,500 cars – I counted the cars on their map when they had a fleet of 1,250 cars, and it was approximately correct! It’s not evident how many members Evo currently has, but it’s a popular service. Anecdotally, most people I know are members.
Car2Go were founded by Daimler in 2008 in Germany, though they officially entered the car sharing market in 2010. The project was originally an in-house innovation experiment that became wildly successful. They are arguably the market leaders in floating car share services.
Car2Go have around 14,000 cars in their global fleet, servicing 25 locations in 8 countries. 3 of 25 locations are exclusively electric, in Amsterdam, Stuttgart, and Madrid, totalling around 1,400 cars (10% of their fleet). It’s worth noting that the Vancouver Car2Go fleet is the biggest in their portfolio, just beating Berlin which has 1,250 cars. Car2Go claims 3.4 million users worldwide, which results in an average of 243 members per car. That’s quite efficient compared to a family car’s driver pool!
Evo vs Car2Go – The cars
Evo uses a single car in its 1,500 strong fleet – the Toyota Prius C Hybrid. This stylish little hatchback is black with blue sign writing. It has 5 seats, has a mixed leather and cloth interior, and a great roof rack for bikes and ski/snowboard equipment. It doesn’t feel like some poverty-spec basic rental car, but a well equipped fun hatchback. Click the pictures to zoom.
Car2Go use the Smart ForTwo, Mercedes GLA, and Mercedes CLA in their fleet of 1275 cars. The fleet composition isn’t clear, but I’ve seen many more Smart ForTwo than Mercedes around town. The Smart ForTwo is the most recognisable of the cars in Vancouver, due to its white and blue paint job. It’s a nimble little 2-seater that still has room for shopping in the rear. It has a black cloth and leather interior, bluetooth media player, and seat warmers (though I didn’t test). It does feel spacious for such a small car. Click the pictures to zoom.
The Mercedes GLA is shown below. It is a compact SUV type car, with a plush leather interior and a premium feel throughout. The car comes with plenty of gadgets as you’d expect with Mercedes, such as a sunroof, rear camera and blind spot assist. This is a premium motor but it does feel a bit squished inside for a taller person. Click the pictures to zoom.
Comparing the vehicles isn’t particularly fair, because they’re different types of cars, best suited for different purposes. Also, I feel it’s not particularly useful as the cars all meet reasonable expectations of what a driver needs for a car-share vehicle. You can connect your mobile device and play your own music. They’re nippy enough to pull away promptly, and perform safely with systems like traction control and anti-lock brakes.
The ForTwo is excellent for city parking, but no good if you have more than 1 passenger. And the Prius wins if you need to carry a couple of bikes or four sets of skis. But the Mercedes is best for a posh pick-up.
However, my first preference is for the Prius. I like function over form. Though the Prius’s form is pretty good too! I like that it is versatile and covers all bases, whilst doesn’t feel cheap. It’s the solid all-rounder and you know what you’re getting every time.
With Car2Go you have to make extra checks on whether the vehicle is suitable for your needs that time. Car2Go has choice, which makes it better in some circumstances, but overall, I prefer the certainty of the Prius.
Evo vs Car2Go – Tailpipe emissions
Based on fuel consumption figures from the Canadian Government, we can see that Evo’s Prius C has the lowest tailpipe emissions with an average of 115 g CO2 per km driven. We’re assuming that Evo runs an equal amount of cars manufactured in each year, which probably isn’t correct (but it won’t change the results).
You may expect the Smart ForTwo to have the lowest emissions, being a smaller and lighter car. However, the Prius C is a hybrid which is helping to reduce those tailpipe emissions. The Smart ForTwo has higher tailpipe emissions, despite being a smaller and lighter car. And the Mercedes are bigger vehicles and not hybrid so it makes sense that they have higher emissions.
So Evo is the more environmentally friendly choice, based on tailpipe emissions data. I don’t have data on emissions resulting from manufacture, but for other cars I’ve seen, the emissions due to fuel consumption outweigh those from manufacturing.
|g/CO2 per km driven||Toyota Prius C||Smart ForTwo||Mercedes GLA||Mercedes CLA|
Evo vs Car2Go – The coverage
Both Evo and Car2Go are one-way service providers and operate a ‘home-zone’ model. This means that you can pick-up and drop-off the car anywhere in the home zone (or a dedicated parking space outside the home-zone). You can go outside the home zone on your trip in between pick-up and drop-off.
So the best company will have the biggest home zone and the most parking spaces outside the home zone. Have a look at the maps by clicking on them, and see if you can work out who wins.
Evo has a larger home zone, beating Car2Go by including both South East Vancouver and New Westminster.
Evo beats Car2Go on parking. Evo has more parking spaces in further-out places, at SFU, Capilano, and Grouse Mountain. So that’s a win for Evo on service coverage.
As of late 2019, both Evo and Car2Go can can use metered parking bays in downtown Vancouver. However there is some nuance here. Evo can park in metered bays and finish their trips in metered bays. Car2Go can park for 2 hrs in metered bays, but technically you shouldn’t finish your trip in a metered bay. There’s some ambiguity whether you’d be liable for a parking ticket with Car2Go if no one picks the car up again inside 2 hours.
Evo vs Car2Go – The products and packages
Evo and Car2Go both include fuel, insurance, and parking with all rentals. There’s no difference between the companies there.
Should you choose per minute, per hour, or per day?
Evo’s products are simple and clear. You can borrow the car and pay per minute, per hour, or per day. And Evo will automatically charge you the lowest possible combination. So if you drive for 36 minutes they’ll charge you per minute. If you drive for 37 minutes, they charge you for 1 hour, as it’s cheaper for you! (36 * $0.41 = 14.76 and 37 * $0.41 = 15.17 but the hour rate is $14.99, so they charge you $14.99 instead of $15.17). This is excellent!
Car2Go offers include bookings per minute, per hour, per day AND 3-hour, 6-hour, and 2-day & 3-day packages. The choice of packages can result in better value if you only need 2 seats, and will stick to your plan. But if you want a 5 seater, Evo’s pricing is the same or better for most trip lengths.
The devil is in the detail with Car2Go. They don’t automatically charge you the lowest (best) rate. If you pick the per-minute rate then you’re stuck on the per-minute rate. Even if you go past 32 minutes, and it would have been cheaper to have a 1 hour package. So you need to pick what the best package will be in advance. Car2Go do give a bit of a margin – generally the packages are still worthwhile with about 45 minutes either side, e.g. a 3 hr package is the cheapest deal you could get, if you use the car for between 2:15 and 4:00 hrs.
Which company is cheapest?
Previously, I modelled each company’s rates, and produced some graphs so you could tell what package was best for a specific trip duration. But Car2Go has changed their prices and they now include a variable factor based that seems to be based on demand; including location, time of day and day of the week. So it’s harder to compare what’s the best choice.
- Evo charges a $1 fee that’s payable on your first 200 trips, but Car2Go charge this for every trip. So your additional charges will be limited to $200 annually for Evo, but unlimited for Car2Go. If you take lots of short trips, Car2Go may cost you more.
- With Car2Go, after 91 trips, your insurance deductible is reduced to $0, but not for Evo. But, you can avoid worrying about the deductible if you have suitable insurance coverage on your credit card.
- Evo trips include unlimited km, whereas Car2Go includes a varying amount of km depending on the package you book. For example, the per-minute package includes 200km, the 1-hour package includes 60km, the 2-day package includes 300km. Car2Go charges you $0.49 per km if you exceed your included km allowance. This can really add up!
Overall package value
In summary, Car2Go’s pricing is variable, complicated, and inflexible. In some circumstances, you may be able to get a slightly cheaper deal on your trip using Car2Go instead of Evo, but you’ll have to spend considerable time assessing that at the start of each trip, and be careful to stick to your plans or else incur excessive additional charges. Evo’s pricing is simple and automatically gives you the best rate possible; which is convenient and a much more pleasant experience as a customer. Evo wins because its pricing is clear and simple, and the lowest cost package is automatically selected. Unlike Car2Go’s pricing which leaves the user confused and quickly becomes expensive if your plans change.
Evo vs Car2Go – The costs
When thinking about the costs involved in car sharing in Vancouver, it’s best to break it down as:
- One-off costs
- Recurring costs
One-off costs include a sign-up fee and annual membership fee ($2). The annual membership fee of $2 is negligible. The sign-up fee can be avoided with a promo code – see the end of this article.
Some car sharing companies in Vancouver can have recurring monthly fees (Zipcar, Modo). But neither Evo and Car2Go have any recurring monthly fees. So no worries here too.
Rate costs for both Evo and Car2Go are similar. You’re not going to lose out drastically by picking one or the other. Sometimes one company is running a promotion, so it’s better to use them for a period. But generally the prices only vary slightly, and they vary in accordance with the size and class of the vehicle.
Remember, the rates do tell most of the story, but recall the section above – products and packages. Rates may be cheaper, but if you under-do it or over-do it and need more time, you may pay more with Car2Go.
|Sign up fee||$30||$5|
|Per min rate||$0.41||$0.32 - $0.45|
|Per hour rate||$15||$13 - $17|
|Per day rate||$90||$69 - $99|
|3 hour rate||-||$35 - $45|
|6 hour rate||-||$49 - $69|
|2 day rate||-||$129 - $179|
|Trips over 8 hrs||$1.50||$1.50|
|Exceed booking time||Optimises to minimise charges||Charges by the minute|
|Exceed trip km limit||Unlimited km||$0.45/km
|Insurance deductible||$1,000||$1,000 / $500|
|Deductible fee (first 200 trips / yr)||-||$1 fee payable for first 200 trips in a year. After 90 trips, deductible reduces to $500.|
|Access fee (first 200 trips / yr)||$1||-|
The customer service
I spoke to both customer service teams when applying for membership, and have interacted frequently with both teams over the past year. Generally the teams discuss things politely, and have answered my questions effectively. So it’s a thumbs up for both teams, but two thumbs up for Evo – they’re just more responsive. Calls are picked up faster, and emails are responded to more promptly.
Reviews online from websites like Yelp show medium approval ratings for both companies, with slightly higher marks awarded to Evo. There are recent bad reviews for customer service for both companies. They focus on points that I’ve raised here, such as the difficulty of selecting the correct package in advance for Car2Go. Bad reviews prior to 2018 tend to focus on the unreliability of the app. Personally, I’ve found both companies to be good, but if you focus on online reviews, it’s a slight win for Evo.
When beginning a trip you will need to report in any damage on the car. Otherwise you risk being held liable for damage that may be caused by a previous driver.
Evo facilitate this through a button on the car dashboard. This saves time and avoids faffing around taking photos and typing on your smart phone. Also, Evo marks damage that’s already been reported with a sticker. I’m yet to come across an Evo that hasn’t had its damage marked with a sticker already. So they seem prompt on marking the cars, which saves you time. The downside of the dashboard process is you may be left waiting if someone doesn’t answer in time.
You can report damage with Car2Go through the app or calling them, but it’s not quite as easy as doing it through a button the dashboard. I’ve not actually found any damage on my rentals so far. Perhaps the Car2Go drivers are better…!
The apps from Evo and Car2Go are both very good. They are both fast and responsive, and I have had no issues with them crashing, performing poorly, or inaccurate data. The apps are very similar in functionality. Key features include exploring the area around you for cars, and checking the status of individual cars (distance from you and fuel level). Have a look at the app screenshots below.
It’s a very close race, but I think the Car2Go app is marginally better, as you can see more of the map. When you select a car on the Evo screen, there is a lot of wasted space surrounding the details that come up. Also, it becomes a bit fiddly to then see other cars in the area and review.
Evo send your annual membership fee ($2) to community initiatives that protect kids. Currently it’s being sent to the BCAA Play Here initiative. Evo adds a few sweeteners to its membership. As an Evo member you can access ‘Evo Extras’ which includes local deals and offers:
- 49th Parallel & Lucky’s Doughnuts – 10% discount
- Comor – Go Play Outside – 10% discount
- Free night lift ticket with 3-day snow pack @ Grouse Mountain
- Pacific Boarder – 10% discount
- Roaming Dragon – free drink with meal purchase
- Soft Peaks Ice Cream – free upgrade to larger size
- SPUD.ca – $20 off first order over $60
- Vij’s railway Express – free drink with meal purchase
- YYoga – 15% off certain packages
Finally it’s worth noting that if you’re a BCAA member, you can get 10% off Evo pricing.
As for Car2Go, your Vancouver membership gets you access to other schemes in North American cities. If you want to use the membership in the EU or China, you’ll need to re-register.
Evo vs Car2Go is a contest between a local champion and international behemoth. BCAA’s Evo arrived late to the party, but they hold their own against the self proclaimed market leaders of floating car share.
Evo and Car2Go seem fairly similar on the surface. They’re closely matched on metrics like fleet size and rates. However when you dig in, I think you find that currently BCAA’s Evo are likely better for most people.
Yes, Car2Go has a choice of packages. Their rates can be cheaper (for 2 seaters). And give you a choice of flashier motors. But Car2Go also have a variable pricing structure that punishes you if your plans change. To avoid this, you have to overestimate the booking time you’ll need. And all this feels rather… inconvenient.
Evo’s pricing is simple and clear, and seems better focused on delivering value for the customer. They do the maths for you and give you the best price possible. Their cars have lower emissions, are great for all group sizes, and the roofracks are excellent for carrying sporting kit. Evo also has a larger home zone, and more satellite parking spaces. You can even leave it at the airport for free.
I think Evo is the best all-rounder, and wins the showdown Evo vs Car2Go.
But I still encourage you to join Evo AND Car2Go. They both have negligible recurring costs, meaning it’s worth having both in your back pocket. The sign-up fee can be avoided with a promo code, like so:
- Evo promo code – ‘C000137778’, get to EVO here.
- Car2Go promo code- ‘JOINC2GVAN_luke@brightaroundthecorner.com’, get to Car2Go here.
If you use the above codes, you will get some free minutes as well as avoiding the sign-up fee. I will also get a few free minutes too. I don’t get paid to write this stuff, I just enjoy spreading the love for car sharing! But any free minutes are appreciated.
If you enjoyed this, and would like to learn more about the other companies doing car sharing in Vancouver, check out our complete guide to car sharing in Vancouver.
This information was correct at the time of publishing. Please check all the Vancouver car sharing companies websites for their exact and current service offers.
And if you can’t book a car when you need, get back on the bus. Vancouver’s public transport system is great.
Let us know your opinions and questions in the comments section below.