As a result of a joint effort between PhillyCarShare, the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and 16 businesses, universities, and nonprofit organizations, the City of Philadelphia will be receiving a $140,000 Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Sixteen of the 20 charging locations created as a result of this grant will be dedicated to the new PhillyCarShare Electric Vehicles (EVs) being added to their fleet. By displacing traditional gas powered vehicles, the cutting edge project is expected to substantially cut CO2 emissions and provide visibility to the nationwide challenge of introducing electric cars into the mainstream of the American transportation system.
The average car share trip is between 30 and 40 miles, well within the range of an EV on one lithium ion batteries charge. Using Electric Vehicles in a car share fleet increases the environmental benefit because one car share vehicle replaces up to 15 privately owned vehicles. It also increases the visibility of the vehicles and makes them more main stream. With some EVs with lithium ion batteries costing in excess of $40,000, car sharing makes the technology affordable to more individuals, universities, and businesses.
“People want to do the right thing for the environment. Our goal is to make Electric Vehicles and car sharing inexpensive and convenient. Our members are bikers and walkers who occasionally need a car,” says Gerald Furgione, executive Director of PhillyCarShare. “Our cars are close to where people live and work, which makes it easy to make the switch from ownership to sharing vehicles.”
It is not surprising, considering their eight year history, that PhillyCarShare would take a leadership role in a project of this magnitude. PhillyCarShare is one of the oldest and most successful nonprofit car sharing organization in the country and is a strong supporter of climate change and environmental sustainability. A founding member of the Greater Philadelphia Green Business Program, PhillyCarShare remains at the forefront of supporting the challenges set forth by Greenworks Philadelphia. According to Mayor Michael Nutter, one of the goals of this citywide initiative is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 20% by 2015.
EVs are good for the city, the environment, and PhillyCarShare’s initiative has found wide spread support throughout Philadelphia. Ann Weaver Hart, President of Temple University states “The goals of this project to accelerate the adoption of cleaner, domestically-fueled, electric vehicles in Philadelphia using the car sharing model while emitting zero emissions is consistent with our vision for a greener Temple University. In addition, the benefit to Temple students of seeing electric car vehicles in use could foster further educational and research inquiry into electric vehicles, alternative energy to run electric vehicles, and infrastructure requirements.”
Furgione adds, “The opportunity to add EV’s to our fleet is a win-win. CO2 emissions will be cut down and drivers will have the opportunity to experience electric vehicles. In the long run, more people may choose to embrace this green technology because it will start to look familiar. Adding Electric Vehicles to our fleet will enhance our mission to reduce dependence on automobiles in Philadelphia in a new and relevant way.”
Further information on the City of Philadelphia’s Greenworks Philadelphia sustainability plan and the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability can be found at www.phila.gov/green. For more information on PA DEP’s AFIG program, visit: www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/com
PhillyCarShare is a Philadelphia-based non-profit organization founded in 2002 with the mission of reducing automobile dependence in the Philadelphia region by offering a cost-effective and sustainable alternative to car ownership. PhillyCarShare promotes an urban lifestyle in which members walk, bike, and take transit more, and save an average of $4,000 annually versus private vehicle ownership. In addition to the Philadelphia residents who participate in car sharing, PhillyCarShare currently serves our business community of over 1300 for-profit and non-profit companies, universities, and government agencies.