Move Over, Uber, SF Residents Can “Yo” A Smart Car To Take Them Anywhere They Want Tomorrow

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A very gimmicky Mercedes-Benz campaign hopes to tap into the SF tech millennial market tomorrow by offering free rides in its smart electric vehicles to anyone who sends them a “Yo.”

Starting at noon on August 21, smart will place pop-up signs at two outdoor locations in San Francisco – one in the Mission and one in SoMa. Anyone who reads the sign and then sends out a “Yo” to “smartUSA” will get picked up on the spot and taken to wherever they tell the driver to go. “The main priority is to get people to drive the vehicle, and tapping into that Yo audience is a great way to do that,” says Mercedes-Benz spokesman Eric Angeloro. “We’re giving ‘Electricurious’ San Franciscans the world’s first-ever Yo-powered test ride.”

The campaign is niche for sure. As Angeloro puts it, “Our cars are simple and so is Yo” —  though Yo is sorta not so simple anymore. It has links, hashtags and a bunch of other built-in features that now give users a more robust experience within the app. One might even say it’s a bit more complicated than Secret now.

The idea for this event is reminiscent of the sort of stuff Chevy does at SXSW every year. The “Catch a Chevy” campaign has been picking up attendees and motoring them through downtown Austin during the Interactive portion every year for the last four years. Both these types of campaigns attempt to grab the attention of a tech-savvy, pro-enviro audience.

Angeloro says this one is perfect for the San Francisco crowd because of parking. If you’ve ever tried to park in our fair city, you know we have a serious dearth of spots. Oh sure, once in a while you get tricked into thinking your car might just fit in an open spot, only to realize it’s a good four inches too small. The smart cars are perfect for this. And in addition to being easier to park, they don’t require gas while you putter around town.

These pint-sized coupes were subject to tipping crimes in the city earlier this summer. Sort of SF’s version of cow-tipping. This trend has been going on nationwide since smart cars hit in 2011, according to NBC. There were six reported SF incidents in all.

With a 17.6kWh battery that provides a range of 68 miles, the compact, plug-in smart car is able to take commuters anywhere within SF city limits. Angeloro says there will be 8 vehicles out and about tomorrow, three of which will be electric and five gas-powered just in case. We’ll see if the campaign makes any millennials more “Electricurious” though.