City CarShare Electrifies Car Sharing in the Bay Area

City CarShare, a Bay Area nonprofit organization, announced plans to provide shared electric cars to Bay Area residents and businesses. The car sharing electrification program, called “eFleet,” will provide vehicles, charging station infrastructure, and promotional programs as part of regional efforts to make the Bay Area the leader in electrified transportation.

The initial stage of eFleet is budgeted at $2.5 Million, largely funded by a $1.7 million Climate Innovation Grant through the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). The San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) is partnering with City CarShare to administer and implement the grant program.

“Our eFleet program will make electric vehicles available to thousands of Bay Area car sharing members by providing low-cost access to electric vehicles (EVs) and contributing to huge savings of greenhouse gas emissions,” said City CarShare CEO Rick Hutchinson. “We applaud the MTC for having the vision to support innovative, strategic transportation projects, including the various electrification programs funded through the Climate Initiative grants.”

The initial 2 year phase of eFleet will make more than 30 electric-based vehicles available to City CarShare (CCS) members, and will provide the charging station infrastructure to host CCS vehicles and provide station access to the public. eFleet will also establish supportive technology for managing an electric fleet and provide outreach programs designed to overcome concerns about electric cars in order to promote adoption and usage.

Based on experience-learned during this phase, City CarShare will work with other transit-oriented Car Share Organizations (CSOs) to develop best practices for car sharing and other fleets.

City CarShare estimates an eFleet usage rate of 20,000 unique trips in electric-based shared vehicles by year-end 2012. During this initial two-year stage of eFleet, an estimated 12,000 tons of CO2 emission will be saved due to the use of CCS’s electric vehicles.

The MTC’s Climate Initiative program provided a pool of $33 million in grant funding, through a competitive process, to assist public agencies, nonprofit organizations and businesses to implement innovative transportation-related greenhouse gas emission reduction strategies.

Four electric-transportation projects were selected, sharing $14 million in funding, to support electric car initiatives with total project value of $30 million. These initiatives include demonstration projects that will advance EVs in government, taxi, and car share fleets, and to provide regional charging stations for public use.

“Electrified transportation creates much-needed local jobs, improves our national security by reducing our dangerous reliance on foreign oil, and safeguards our resources from climate impacts,” said Rafael Reyes, Director of the Bay Area Climate Collaborative. “City CarShare’s eFleet program, as part of our joint Regional efforts, will contribute to our vision of establishing the Bay Area as the electric vehicle capital of the nation.”

Besides the MTC, organizations supporting City CarShare’s eFleet program include the SFCTA, Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), Bay Area Climate Collaborative, the Cities of Berkeley and San Francisco, and the University of California San Francisco, among others. eFleet programs will initially focus on locations in Berkeley and San Francisco with plans to expand to Oakland and other Bay Area locations.

City CarShare (CCS) is a Bay Area nonprofit that provides convenient, affordable access to shared cars in order to reduce individual car ownership and usage. With a mission to improve the environment and quality of life in our cities, City CarShare continually strives to make their service so convenient, so reliable, and so affordable that people will prefer using a CCS car to owning their own.

In doing so, CCS members are reducing traffic, parking problems, and dependence on oil — while promoting cleaner air, quieter streets, and more open space.