CarFinder - Find your closest carsharing car

I am a big fan of the carsharing concept and I have been using the two largest providers DriveNow and car2go regularly here in Berlin since I discovered them a few months ago.

One thing I don't like about them is their websites. While the iOs and Android apps work quite well for finding a car, the websites were obviously designed not only for already registered users who want to quickly find a car, but also for prospective customers, press, investors etc. They contain a lot of clutter and the DriveNow website does not even make an attempt to determine your current location, so you have to zoom and swipe the map manually every time. Especially irritating since you want to reload the map repeatedly sometimes when on the hunt for the closest car.

After getting annoyed with their websites once too often I decided to do something about it.

The idea is quite simple: a website that is basically only a map which determines your current location and displays the closest cars of multiple carsharing providers around you.

It only took a couple of hours to get something up and running (thanks to the ridiculously streamlined process that Rails development and deployment to Heroku has become!) and a couple more hours to get some feedback from Facebook friends, set up a dedicated VPS, and register a proper domain:

Mind you, it only works in Berlin, Germany, doesn't have a logo or any other branding or text yet, but it totally works for me. Currently it shows cars from DriveNow, car2go and Multicity.

Ideas for new features:

  • Open links to cars in the iOs/Android app if on mobile and the apps are installed (is it even possible to detect that?)
  • Update the map automatically every x seconds
  • Use the [car2go API] to book a car directly
  • Add more providers: [Flinkster], [Stadtmobil], [Greenwheels], ...
  • Contemplate monetization. Affiliate links?
  • Track cars to be able to answer the question "Which provider is the most popular in my area?"

As a side note, I found that Gandi is (currently) the cheapest registrar for .io domains. I got mine for 30€ + VAT. To host the app I chose Server4You which I heard good things about and offers (apart from a cheesy name) basic VPS hosting for 8.85€ per month.

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Ideas? Constructive criticism? Think I'm stupid? Let me know in the comments!