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Most of the new smarts in the Austin car2go program will have solar roofs

Citing strong demand for its car-rental scheme, Daimler said it is expanding its car2go operations in Austin, Texas, increasing the area where the program operates and bringing in more vehicles.

The German premium carmaker said it is replacing the 200 current smart fortwo vehicles with smart “car2go edition” models, which it said are specifically designed for car-sharing.

“We knew Austin was going to be a great city for car2go when we started receiving requests to expand our operating area the first week we launched,” Nicholas Cole, President and CEO of car2go North America, said in a press release.

Daimler launched the service in November, 2009, and has averaged 4,000 rentals a week since then. The program has more than 15,000 members.

The new smarts have improved telematics hardware, including a new control unit and touchscreen. The user interface has been redesigned, which makes menu, radio and navigation easier to use, Daimler said. The majority of the cars will also have solar roofs, which provide additional power.

“The new hardware and software platform allow us to provide new in-car services in the future,” said Helmuth Ritzer, car2go chief technology officer. “As new features become available, the fleet will be automatically updated over-the-air.”