• Aug 31st 2009 at 2:00PM
  • 15
Zipcar's $1 billion ambition - Click above to watch the video after the break

How many cars do you think Zipcar owns around the world? Did you know it was 6,500?
How big could Zipcar one day become? How about a $1 billion company?

These are two of the numbers mentioned in an interview that CEO Scott Griffith gave to Fortune recently. Griffith also said that, today, Zipcar has about 300,000 members, which give us an average of about 46 members per car. To some of us on staff, that seems incredibly high, and to others of us, incredibly low. Either way, in order to reach the $1 billion goal, Zipcar will need to get to the one million member level, Griffith figures.

Before that happens, Griffith needs to convince a lot more organizations to adopt the Zipcar model. We know about how Zipcar can work for individuals – basically, easy car rentals by the hour – but Griffith is more excited about the behind-the-scenes operations. For example, people need to clean and maintain all 6,500 vehicles, right? The back-end work that Zipcar is doing today to make sure there is time in the schedule for all of these cars to be prepped and ready for customers when they want them will help tremendously as the company begins to add more and more electric vehicles to the fleet. Griffith says it is just a step away from scheduling maintenance to finding time to recharge electric cars:
"Our system is going to integrate very well with electric vehicles, and that's one of the things that governments and universities and corporate partners are very interested in. How are they going to schedule all of this and manage the logistics of having electric vehicles.
The next city to get an electric Zipcar, Griffith said, will probably be Washington, D.C. Watch the video after the jump to learn more.

[Source: Fortune via CNNMoney.com]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Zipcar? Never heard of it. And since they have Tacomas, but no F150s, I hope I never hear of it again.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Because sooo many people need the extra capability an f150 offers over a tacoma.

        Why even bother with an f150, you can't tow more than 11,000 lbs with that. Just get a granite rawhide edition mack truck, you'll never want for more capability ever.


        In big cites, zipcar's chosen market, it's hard and taxing to drive a truck through the traffic. Often, the smaller the truck, the better for most people.

        • 6 Years Ago
        Well the do have Escapes and Mustangs - but mostly smaller city cars. Their customers want a car to drive out to the suburbs and go to the mall in. Or run some erands in the city and be able to park easily in tight spots. The reality of the current car market is such that the majority of small/efficient cars are made by foreign manufacturers - so their fleet refelcts this. Hopefull this will change as the domesitcs introduce more well designed small/efficient cars. But today their selection is limited by whats available.

        In other words zip car really isn't in the "Large Truck" rental market. If thats what you need, you are better off renting a pick-up by the hour from U-haul, Penske, etc.. companies that specialize in this. I suspect that companies that specialize in renting trucks/vans/SUVs will have a higher percentage of American vehicles because at this point in time that market is dominated by American manufacturers.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm a former member of ZipCar, used it 3-4 times a week throughout Chicago. Great Idea and company - I used it until my monthly bill was more than a car payment....purchased a car then to save money... kind of odd how that worked - Kiel
      • 6 Years Ago
      I live in the city and if my car wasn't going to be paid off in a couple months I would ditch it for the zip car, have several friends who have gotten rid of their cars for it and they absolutely love it. They have a car when then need it with a dedicated parking space for a fraction of the cost of owning a personal vehicle, plus none of the headache of owning and maintaining a car in the city.
      • 6 Years Ago
      They seem to get a pretty steady business in my college town. Lots of it seems to be foreign students who don't own cars, using them to go grocery shopping or run errands. It's expensive "by the hour," but when you compare it with the time and expense of owning a car, buying insurance, keeping it maintained, etc...it makes sense for a lot of urban dwellers.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The concept is OK. But as a business there's still a few question marks. I hope they succeed as a business rather than just a nice dream.

        • 6 Years Ago
        They are already succeeding...
      • 6 Years Ago
      So electric cars eh? So when they say 100 miles included they literally mean 100 miles, dead stop. :)

      I like Zipcar, been a member for 3 years now but demand is definitely very variable so that during the summer, it's often impossible to get a car on the weekends unless you game the system and just book entire weekends, weeks in advance.
      • 6 Years Ago
      they've handed over Ohio State and other places to Hertz. Good luck with the rest of the world.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I've never heard of Zipcar. What makes them better than say like Hertz or other rental companies?
        • 6 Years Ago
        They only rent imports. Also, if you want to rent a truck to move stuff, you can only get teeny trucks.
        • 6 Years Ago
        or a Sienna.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Their vehicles are spread around the cities they operate in, you should always have a car within walking distance from where you are. You can then spontaniously book one of those cars for a wished period and then simply park it at the same or nearby place after you're dopne, no signing contracts and other stuff, just a car when you need to. And oh, you can use the service entirely from your iphone, even unlock the car:
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