Zipcar, the innovative car-sharing service, today announced its first Electric Vehicle Pod, which will come equipped with an all-electric Citroen c1 (pictured above) and a plug-in Toyota Prius.
“Our proprietary car sharing technology platform allows us to manage a variety of cutting-edge vehicles, serving hundreds of thousands of Zipsters who benefit from convenience, cost savings, and a commitment to reducing carbon emissions.” said Scott Griffith, chairman and CEO of Zipcar, in a press release this morning.
The new pod is being piloted in the UK and will include a fleet of 20 hybrid vehicles, ten times more than all the other car clubs in the UK combined. By September, users will have access to more than 100 vehicles and the company estimates having over 400 vehicles by 2012.
EVs have had difficulty breaking into large-scale consumption, mainly becuase the lack of widespread availability of charging stations and limited battery range. “With an average trip-duration of just under four hours and less than 25 miles,” the company contends, “more than 95% of Zipcar trips would fall within the range of an EV, meaning EVs are ideally suited for early, large-scale use in Zipcar’s car sharing platform.”
The pod is equipped with a charging station where the user plugs-in/unplugs their vehicle upon check-out and return. Plugging and unplugging is simplified to the point of swiping a key passed specified touch points. The batteries on average require recharging every two days, obviously depending on usage and need. The Citroen, for example, goes from zero to full in about 6 hours.
Zipcar earlier this year launched its pilot plug-in hybrid (PHEV) program in San Francisco, responding to overwhelming demand by Zipcar users for cleaner automobiles. As San Francisco’s Mayor Newsom claimed that “electric vehicles are the future of transportation,” to date, the company estimates more than 100,000 unique members have driven an EV or hybrid.