Zipcar is moving into the plug-in realm on the old continent this week with an announcement from London. Zipcar is adding two plug-in vehicles, a converted Toyota Prius PHEV and an all-electric Citroën C1, to the fleet the company operates in central London with the Westminster City Council. The C1 is not an official Citroën product but the EV'IE as converted by Electric Car Corporation Plc. Zipcar's car club will have 20 cars total, including 20 hybrids. By September, the fleet will grow to 100 vehicles throughout Westminster, with a goal of 400 vehicles available by 2012, about 120 of which will be hybrids.
This is a good move for plug-in fans. The car-sharing service claims they will head into the black in the near future, which means that Zipcar is likely to be around for a while and help the transition to cars with plugs. Back in February, Zipcar added its first plug-in car out in San Francisco. We can't imagine that the London announcement will be the last.
Westminster City Council and Zipcar Launch UK's Greenest Car Club in London
LONDON, July 7/PRNewswire/ --
The UK's most environmentally friendly car club scheme was launched in central London today. It is being jointly run by Westminster City Council and Zipcar, the world's largest car club operator. The car club will include a fleet of 20 hybrid vehicles, ten times more than all the other car clubs in the UK combined. It also will offer members access to the country's first all-electric car club vehicle, a Citroen c1.
Motorists also will have the chance to drive a plug-in hybrid version of Toyota's popular Prius, a Honda Insight Hybrid as well as conventional petrol cars including a BMW 318 and a Mini Cooper. Other vehicles include a VW Caddy Maxi van and a Toyota Verso people carrier. By September, users will have access to more than 100 vehicles in locations across Westminster including Covent Garden, Mayfair, Soho, Regent's Park and Marylebone as well as a number of residential areas.
The council and Zipcar are aiming to have 400 vehicles by 2012 -- approximately 30 percent of which will be hybrid vehicles. These vehicles all will be located within easy walking distance of homes, offices and work places.
Members are charged under a pay as you go style tariff with hourly rates starting at 3.95 pounds Sterling and daily rates at 39 pounds Sterling including the congestion charge and an industry-leading 60 mile daily driving allowance. A number of concessions are also available including one hour's free parking, no congestion charge, and a low rate annual membership fee of 25 pounds Sterling. This sum is then reimbursed with the equivalent amount of car hire time.
Westminster council's cabinet member for city management, Cllr Danny Chalkley, said: "The launch of our car club is a major step towards changing the way motorists travel within our capital and provides an environmentally friendly choice to London's pressured transport system.
"We were one of the first councils in the UK to introduce a range of financial incentives for electric vehicle owners and with this scheme we are once again demonstrating our commitment to the green agenda and recognising the potential of electric vehicles within our car sharing scheme."
Chairman and CEO of Zipcar, Scott Griffith, said: "Westminster's environmental leadership, exhibited by this new and innovative public-private partnership, takes the concept of car clubs in London to an entirely new level in terms of scale and vehicle technology.
"As the world's leading platform for evaluating alternative vehicle technologies, Zipcar is offering Westminster residents convenient and low-cost access to all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles to encourage adoption of the most efficient and environmentally friendly cars on the planet."
Westminster Council has the largest on-street car recharging service in the UK with 14 dedicated charging points and plans to increase this number to 20 by the end of the year. There are an additional 48 charging points in the council's secure car parks.
Studies have shown that each car club vehicle removes up to 20 privately owned vehicles, and that members reduce vehicle miles travelled by up to 40 percent.
Motorists may also recognise significant savings by joining a car club with current estimates showing the average cost to run a private vehicle almost 2,500 pounds Sterling a year.
Zipcar, Inc. is the world's leading car-sharing service with 300,000 members and 6,500 vehicles in urban areas and college campuses throughout 26 North American states and provinces as well as in London, England. As a leader in urban transportation, Zipcar offers more than 30 makes and models of self-service vehicles by the hour or day to savvy city residents and businesses looking for an alternative to the high costs and hassles of owning a car in the city. For more information, visit Zipcar.com, Zipcar.ca or Zipcar.co.uk.
Source: Zipcar, Inc.
Cherie Willers for Zipcar, Inc., +44-0207-641-2259, email@example.com; or Laura Abrar, +44-0207-940-7490, firstname.lastname@example.org or Nancy Scott Lyon, +1-617-336-4332, email@example.com, both of Zipcar, Inc.; NOTE TO EDITORS: Westminster Council was one of the first councils in the UK to introduce a range of financial incentives for electric vehicle owners, including free parking at meters and free resident parking. The council is also leading the way in encouraging greener forms of car travel. Following the success of the council's electric car charging points, the London boroughs of Camden and Islington have installed posts of their own and Wandsworth is also planning to do so. Electric vehicles, which have seen a recent boom in demand, are ideal for city driving as although they have a lower top speed than their equivalent petrol or diesel counterparts, they have comparable acceleration and produce zero tailpipe emissions. Also, on the whole electric vehicles need less servicing and maintenance. According to Toyota, the company's plug-in hybrid offers a 40 per cent reduction in overall CO2 emissions compared with conventional petrol vehicles. Around 22 per cent of the UK's carbon emissions come from transport, with 13 per cent of these from private cars. According to a study for the Department for Transport (DfT), widespread adoption of electric vehicles capable of a range of 50km or more could cut road transport carbon emissions in half. The 2008 RAC Price Index puts annual running costs for an average family car at 2,435 pounds Sterling.