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Green Commuter Chattanooga — Rent A Nissan Leaf For $9 An Hour

In a sign of the slow shift towards midsize cities getting their own electric vehicle carsharing programs, a new service known as Green Commuter Chattanooga launched a couple of months ago in its namesake city — Chattanooga, Tennessee.

In a sign of the slow shift towards midsize cities getting their own electric vehicle carsharing programs, a new service known as Green Commuter Chattanooga launched a couple of months ago in its namesake city — Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The program sounds like a pretty good deal overall — $9 an hour, or $45 a day, and an annual fee of $50 (which is being “waived” through a $50 account credit for a limited time). This depends, however, on the applicant having a clean driving record. Those with a patchy record are out of luck. (There’s also a $25 application fee.)

Interestingly, the program is the result of a $3 million grant from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and is actually a program of the Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA).

“It just adds another transit option,” explained Brent Matthews, CARTA’s director of parking. “You’ve got more and more people moving downtown. A lot of folks are going to one vehicle.”

Here’s more from a news item on the subject:

“The car-sharing program works a lot like the Bike Chattanooga blue-and-yellow rental bicycles, with Leafs located around town that members can find, borrow and then return to the original starting point — via a smart phone app that’s used to unlock the car and start the engine. No key is involved in the app-based system. (Unless the car’s out of range of the Internet; there’s a key in glove box for that situation.)

“CARTA selected Green Commuter, a Los Angeles-based startup business, to provide 20 Nissan Leafs to be parked at some 20 new charging stations at locations downtown, at Northgate and Hamilton Place malls and at the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport. … CARTA will equip some of the electric car charging stations with solar panels that will feed electricity into EPB’s power grid.

“Chattanooga’s Green Commuter program named its cars to give them some personality and help drivers remember which is theirs. The names include Iris, Pearl, Ross, Coolidge, Frazier, Smokey, River and Hamilton. Those Tennessee-centric names (Iris is the state flower; The freshwater pearl is the state gem) and Chattanooga-centric names are displayed each car in the form of a name tag that says, ‘Hello, my name is.'”

Interesting. Probably a good idea. If I was to use such a service, I’d probably prefer to use the same one over and over (or know which ones to avoid, depending on how well maintained they are).

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Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.


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