You may have noticed that things seem a little busier than usual at HOURCAR lately. Maybe the car you prefer hasn’t been available as often, or it took a little longer to get a response from our office. I’m writing today to finally take the wraps off a huge announcement we’ve been working on for months: one-way electric carsharing is coming to the Twin Cities in 2021. We plan to launch a new fleet of shared electric vehicles in the second half of 2021, scaling up to 150 total vehicles by the end of 2022. This project, funded in part by the Metropolitan Council, the US Department of Energy, the Cities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, and Xcel Energy, represents the largest investment in shared mobility in the US to date. We plan to fuel the vehicles with 100% renewable energy, making this the first 100% renewable transportation system in the Western Hemisphere. You can find lots of information about the new service, including rough locations of the charging hubs for the shared EVs, on our website.
Behind the scenes, we’ve been working furiously to make preparations for the launch of the new service, including developing a new reservation platform to support the EV carshare service. This new technology platform, which will feature Android and iOS apps and significant improvements in member experience, will launch with our existing fleet early next year. Due to this transition, there will be a short period when our service will be unavailable as we change from the old hardware and software to the new. We’ll update you soon about the timing of this outage, which will happen after the first of the new year.
Right now, there are several ways for you to get involved in the preparations for the new service:
- Take the survey: We’ve designed a survey to collect input from the community about priorities for the new service. The survey takes 5-10 minutes, and the information we’ll gather will help us shape the service design, especially around pricing and accessibility.
- Sign up for online community meetings: The Cities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis will each be holding an online community meeting to share information about the new service and request feedback. The Minneapolis meeting will take place on October 26 from 5:30-7:00 PM, and the Saint Paul meeting will take place on October 28 from 5:30-7:00 PM. You can RSVP for the meetings here.
- Help us test the new reservation software: Beginning in November, we’ll be running tests on our new reservation software, and we’re seeking a few current HOURCAR members to help out. If you’re interested in helping test the new software, fill out this brief form. We’ll only be able to accommodate a small number of testers, so please understand if you volunteer and we’re not able to get you in.
- Work with us: HOURCAR is currently hiring for a Product Marketing Manager, a Fleet Repair and Response Technician, and a Fleet Detailer and Member Experience Assistant. If you know someone who may be interested in one of these positions, please pass along. We’ll be hiring for additional positions next year.
Thanks for being an HOURCAR member. Since 2005, HOURCAR’s greatest asset has been our member base. By being an HOURCAR member, you’re making a real contribution to a greener planet and less polluted, healthier cities. This new project is just the next phase in what we’ve been working for together all along.