Zipcar, as far as I know, is the largest car sharing company in the world. I was a member for years when I lived in Chapel Hill, NC, when it was still a young and largely unknown company, and I found it very useful for the few times when I thought I needed a car. So, short story: I’m a fan.
Now, an announcement today makes me an even bigger fan. Today, Zipcar announced the launch of “the company’s first large-scale electric vehicle (EV) pilot program.” The program will be in Chicago, where Zipcar’s much smaller, Chicago-only, nonprofit, car-sharing competitor I-GO launched “a $2.5-million electric vehicle (EV) project that will be the national leader in solar power for EVs” in December. I-GO has 35 EVs in its fleet as of this month.
Zipcar is now offering five Chevy Volts by the hour in Chicago, and up to 20 additional EVs will be added to the Chicago fleet throughout 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 writes.
“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.”
Zipcar has also worked with the City of Chicago and the Chicago Area Clean Cities Coalition on this new program, as a part of the Chicago Climate Action Plan. As part of that climate action plan, “the City of Chicago is installing hundreds of electric vehicle charging stations for public use to help expand the EV infrastructure throughout the city.”
The first five Chevy Volts are available to members for $10/hour.
Generally, Zipcar or car sharing users don’t drive a long distance in these cars, making the program a perfect fit for the Chevy Volt. “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,” Zipcar notes.
If you’re in Chicago or will be visiting a this time, Zipcar is hosting a special event for this launch next weekend:
“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.”
Additionally, these first Zipcar EVs are now available at the following locations:
- Cityfront Place Apartments 400 N. McClurg Ct. and 260 E. Chestnut St. in Streeterville
- 210 N. Wells St. in the Loop
- University Village at the University of Illinois-Chicago at 915 S. Paulina St. and 701 W. Maxwell St
Photo Credit: PRNewsFoto/Zipcar, Inc.