by Antonio Pasolini — The London car club scene is about to become greener as car-sharing company Zipcar increases its offer of emissions-free driving. The company has partnered with Westminster City Council and Volkswagen UK to offer sustainable, hybrid electric vehicles at an affordable hourly rate.
Through the agreement, 50 Volkswagen Golf GTE plug-in hybrid electric cars are already available to Zipcar members. Forty of the cars are in the Westminster area; ten other vehicles are in other locations such as Tower Bridge and Old Oak. To support the initiative, Westminster City Council has installed new charging infrastructure in 40 of their car club parking bays.
The move is part of London’s Car Club Strategy announced last May, involving Councils, GLA (Greater London Authority) and TfL (Transport for London). The plan is to convert 50% of car-share fleets to electric vehicles by 2025.
Consumer demand is increasing, too. Recent research shows 10 percent of car club costumers have used an electric vehicle, up from four percent in 2014/15, according to the latest Carplus Annual Survey of Car Clubs.
It is also a response to local concerns over air pollution, which has led Westminster Council to bid for funds to create a Low Emission Neighbourhood in Marylebone. The Council has also dispatched parking marshals it calls ‘air force’ to educate people about the environmental impact of engine idling.
Besides being greener, the Volkswagen Golf GTE offers the same technological edge of a petrol Golf, so drivers familiar with the latter will have no problem adjusting. When started, the GTE will automatically default to electric vehicle mode.
The 50 cars in the scheme also support Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto so drivers can enjoy features such as maps or music through the GTE’s in-built display.
Last but not least, customers will not pay a premium to go green. Hiring a Volkswagen Golf GTE will cost the same hourly rate of £7 as a petrol Golf.
Image credit: Zipcar