Ford had already been testing a very small car-sharing operation in London called City Driving On-Demand, but now it's getting substantially larger with the launch of GoDrive, a one-way service (meaning you don't need to return cars to their original spots like Zipcar) with guaranteed parking at your destination that charges by the minute. Overall, GoDrive sounds a little like Car2Go, the car-sharing subsidiary of Daimler that deploys fleets of pay-per-minute Smart cars to major urban centers.
And you don't have to return the car to a particular spot
The service will use a fleet of Fiestas and Focus Electrics and initially be open to 2,000 people who will have access to 50 cars spread across 20 locations around London. Realtime charges are displayed on GoDrive's smartphone app, and the first five minutes are free so that you can figure out how to use the car's controls.
Ford still describes GoDrive as a "beta," but there's little question that the company has a very real interest in this business: it detailed a wide variety of "smart mobility" experiments like car-sharing and ride-sharing at CEO Mark Fields' CES keynote this year, who is working to get out ahead of a projected shift against car ownership — particularly in major cities. There's no word on when the service might launch in other cities, but Ford notes that it's already running similar experiments in Germany, India, and the US.