Don't let the two recent plug-in vehicle adoptions – a plug-in Prius in San Francisco and the new "electric pod" in London, which includes the EV'IE – fool you. Zipcar has no plans to go big into electric vehicles right now. Speaking to Reuters, Zipcar CEO and Chairman Scott Griffith said that, "We don't want to put new barriers up at a time when car sharing is really moving into the mainstream." Those "new barriers" include electric vehicles that can't meet Zipcar customers' demands.
On the one hand, as Griffith notes, Zipcar seems to be the perfect way to introduce EVs to more people. Zipcar users have already shown their willingness to try a new and greener type of transportation, the average trip is under 25 miles and takes four hours, Zipcar's fleet is already connected to a communications grid and the vehicles need to be returned to specific locations where charging stations could easily be built. The problem, Griffith says, is that EVs aren't ready for Zipcar users quite yet. On big problem is charging time. What's the point of having "always available" vehicles if those vehicles can't be used because their batteries are depleted? A fast charge or battery swap system is a requirement before Zipcar can invest heavily in EVs. Questions about drivers' willingness to learn how to deal with an electric car and the cost and maintenance of these vehicles also need to be answered before Zipcar says "yes" to EVs. Griffith said that his company wants to help push electric car adoption, but will only do so when more pieces are in place.