In the USA, the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul metropolitan areas in the state of Minnesota, have officially launched an all-electric car-sharing network Evie Carshare with the nonprofit HourCar.
HourCar will oversee the operation that is aimed at the unemployed, underemployed, those who don’t own cars, low-income citizens and neighborhoods along the I-94 corridor between the Twin Cities. The Evie Carshare network now has 171 vehicles parked at 70 car-charging stations. The 70 EV Spots will include charging spaces split between Evie and personal vehicles, as well as fast charging at 12 locations. In order to also accomodate longer trips, most of these fast charging locations are to be found near highway exits.
Twin City mayors Mayors Melvin Carter (St. Paul) and Jacob Fry (Minneapolis) opened the program in an official presentation. Mayor Carter revealed that ninety per cent of the charging stations were built specifically in low-income areas near the highway, while 12 of the newer stations have DC fast-charging capabilities. The locations of the chargers were planned with heavy input from local communities and supported by federal, state and local funding as well as national grants and the Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge (ACCC).
This funding enabled the procurement of Chevy Bolt electric cars from General Motors for the program. Hourcar president and CEO C. Paul Schroeder said he also expects to see Nissan Leafs on the road as part of the program. Via the Evie app or alternatively a metro GoTo card (which covers city light rail and city bus transport), the program covers the cost of parking, charging, insurance, and maintenance, which is intended to cover one-way journeys within and around the 1-94 corridor between Minneapolis (west) and St. Paul (east).
Mayor Carter revealed the network already had over 3,000 subscribers before the official launch. Although the pandemic set the launch back, the time delay also allowed HourCar to reduce entry prices and fees by about 40%, making the program more accessible to those targeted.
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