Hourcar Unveils New Business Plan Featuring All-Electric Cars, One-Way Car Sharing
Newer, greener vehicles are coming to the Twin Cities, as Hourcar has announced intentions to launch an all-electric fleet.
The St. Paul-based company has partnered with Xcel Energy to formulate and execute plans for converting its vehicle line-up from fuel-based to 100 percent electric within a hub-based, one-way model.
“Xcel Energy is excited to partner with HOURCAR as we have a long term clean energy plan that includes electrifying the transportation industry,” said Chris Clark, president of Xcel Energy-Minnesota, in a statement. “We are embracing a future that includes more electric vehicles on the road and partnering with HOURCAR helps ensure that this future benefits all customers, the environment, and the electric grid we all rely upon.”
Hourcar’s new green- and convenience-based model will allow customers to drop off a car at any available hub rather than having to return it to the starting point of their reservation. In addition to cutting pollution and congestion, Hourcar CEO Paul Schroeder said he hopes this system will address disparities in how low-income communities are impacted by changing transportation infrastructure – suffering more from car emissions and reaping less benefits of car sharing and similar programs, due to logistical challenges.
“We aim to create access to electric vehicle car sharing in these areas, lowering emissions while also increasing access to flexible and affordable transportation choices, a double win for these communities,” said Schroeder.
Hourcar aims to begin introducing some zero-emission vehicles into their current fleet as early as next year and expects the all-electric fleet and hub-based, one-way model to be completely implemented by the end of 2020.
Hourcar has been part of an avant-garde movement in shared mobility since the organization’s founding in 2005. Its industry peers in the area, as TCB reported in 2016, include: Zipcar, which claims to be the world’s largest car-sharing service, but has a comparatively small presence in the Twin Cities; REVL, which is a more up-scale option; and car2go, which debuted with a model that allows its cars to be parked almost anywhere, rather than at fixed stations.
However, Hourcar is nonetheless the original car sharing organization in the Twin Cities, and as such, believes it’s “well-suited to help launch Twin Cities car sharing into the future.” The organization boasts that it will continue to focus on smart, environmentally conscientious, socially responsible transportation, and seek out partners to join in the effort.
“This transition aligns with our commitment to deliver affordable, accessible, and sustainable shared mobility choices,” said Schroeder. “The Twin Cities is our home, and we want to help keep it clean and livable by doing our part.”