U.S. car-sharing leader Zipcar will start making Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in hybrids available to Windy City customers as part of a program with the city of Chicago that will involve the installment of "hundreds" of electric-vehicle chargers throughout the city.
Zipcar, which will charge $10 an hour for the cars, will initially add five Volts to its Chicago fleet and will add as many as 20 more by year end. 350Green is installing electric-vehicle charging stations where some of the Volts will be based.
Founded in 1999, Zipcar lets subscribers make an online reservation and swipe their membership card over a car-window sensor for access to their vehicles. The company, which went public last April with a $174.3 million IPO, said last November that it finally made a profit during the third quarter of 2011.
Smaller competitor Car2go, which is owned by Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler, has also gone the plug-in route at some of its serviced cities by adding Smart ForTwo Electric Drive vehicles to the car-sharing fleet.
Members Can Now Zip Around Town on Electricity Instead of Gallons
CHICAGO, March 22, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Zipcar, Inc. (Nasdaq: ZIP), the world's leading car sharing network, today announced the launch of the company's first large-scale electric vehicle (EV) pilot program in Chicago. Beginning today, five Chevrolet Volts are available to members by the hour, with up to 20 additional EVs to be added into the Chicago fleet during the course of 2012.
The new Zipcar EVs will be placed in pods located throughout the city, including locations on the University of Illinois at Chicago campus, as well as in the Loop, South Loop, River North, Gold Coast, Streeterville, Lincoln Park, and Albany Park. Zipcar is working with a number of partners on this program, including 350Green, which is installing the EV charging stations where the Zipcar EVs will be located. Other partners include the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Tishman Speyer, LAZ Parking and Cityfront Place Apartments, all of which are providing locations for the Zipcar EVs and charging stations in commercial and residential buildings, private parking lots and along the CTA rail system.
The first EVs to join the Zipcar Chicago fleet are five Chevrolet Volts, which are now available at Cityfront Place Apartments 400 N. McClurg Ct. and 260 E. Chestnut St. in Streeterville, 210 N. Wells St. in the Loop, and in University Village at the University of Illinois-Chicago at 915 S. Paulina St. and 701 W. Maxwell St. These vehicles are available for reservation by Zipcar members starting from just $10 per hour.
The Chevrolet Volt is a full-performance and full-speed electric vehicle with extended range, which can travel gas-free up to an EPA-estimated 35 miles, after which it shifts a gas generator which produces electricity to keep it going an additional 375 miles on a full tank of gas. Because many trips taken by Zipcar members are fewer than 35 miles, these trips taken in the Volts will be powered solely by electricity rather than fuel.
"We are looking forward to providing our Chicago Zipsters with increased opportunities to reduce their environmental impact and drive some of the most technologically-advanced vehicles on the road as we roll out this EV program over the coming months," said Charles Stephens, general manager, Zipcar Chicago. "Freedom has always been a hallmark of the Zipcar experience, and now members can have the best of both worlds – the low carbon experience of an electric car with the back-up security of a gas engine – as we introduce the new Volts into our fleet this week."
Zipcar is working with the City of Chicago and the Chicago Area Clean Cities Coalition to launch the EV program in support of the Chicago Climate Action Plan. Over the course of 2012, the City of Chicago is installing hundreds of electric vehicle charging stations for public use to help expand the EV infrastructure throughout the city. Along with this effort, the Zipcar EV program will help provide increased access to EVs and emission-free driving to car sharing members throughout the Chicago community.
To help introduce the new Chevrolet Volt EVs to Chicago Zipsters, Zipcar will hold an event on Saturday, March 31 where Chicago-area Zipcar members are invited to check out the new Volt vehicles and Zipcar members can take them for a test spin. The event will take place from 10am to 1pm at one of Zipcar's partner locations, Cityfront Place Apartments, located at 400 N. McClurg Ct. in Chicago.
Zipcar has been a pioneer in using advanced vehicle technologies, being the first car sharing company in the United States to introduce electric vehicles into its fleet with the launch of Toyota RAV4 EVs in Boston in 2002, and the first to offer hybrid vehicles in Seattle in 2003.
Zipcar is the world's leading car-sharing service with approximately 673,000 members and 8,900 vehicles in urban areas and college campuses throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Zipcar offers more than 30 makes and models of self-service vehicles by the hour or day to residents and businesses looking for an alternative to the high costs and hassles of owning a car. More information is available at www.zipcar.com.
Zipcar and the Zipcar logo are trademarks of Zipcar, Inc.
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