Electric Vehicle Pilot
Whether you’ve heard or not, a new form of transportation is about to land in the Twin Cities. While the 100% local EV Spot Network is being built out, we’re inviting our members to take a spin in an electric vehicle! We’re releasing white Chevrolet Bolts into our round-trip fleet under the HOURCAR brand. Members who drive the EVs will be surveyed for feedback to help us make sure we’ve got all of our FAQs in a row.
Take our intro survey and get $5 Drive Credit towards your next trip.
Here's what you need to know:
Temporary Pilot Locations
We will be temporarily adding the Chevrolet Bolt into the HOURCAR fleet. HOURCAR branded vehicles will continue to be round-trip, meaning trips must begin and end in the same hub location. Chevrolet Bolt Electric Vehicles will be available at the University of Minnesota – 4th St Ramp and the Minneapolis A Ramp. We may add additional locations as the pilot progresses. Once this pilot is over, the Chevrolet Bolts will transition to the all-electric one-way fleet, and any temporary hubs used during this pilot will be closed. This pilot is currently scheduled to end in August, 2021.
Get In & Go
You’ll still access these cars the exact same way you’re used to: make a reservation ahead of time and start your trip with either your app or Metro Transit GoTo card, and return it to the same spot to end your trip.
If the Bolt is plugged in when you arrive, unlock the car before you unplug, or the car alarm will go off. To unlock, begin your trip via App or GoTo card. The charging port is located near the drivers side mirror, so you can’t miss it. Perform your standard vehicle check and begin your trip like normal.
The Bolts are keyless, so once you unlock the car, all you have to do is press the brake pedal and push the start button. Electric vehicles are extra quiet, so look for other clues that the car is on such as the illumination of dashboard lights and music from the radio. Engage the car into the correct gear and begin your trip. Bolts go 0-60 in 6 seconds, so take it easy on your first trip.
During this pilot, please only use these cars for trips around town and not into greater Minnesota as we do not have regional charging cards at this time. You can view the mileage available once you begin your trip on the dashboard or can call ahead and Member Services will inform you of the range available.
Use Stopover Mode
While you’re running errands, you must use Stopover Mode to lock the car. To make a stopover, put the car in Park and turn it off. When you get out of the car, it will honk 3 times, meaning you’re on the right track. You’ll then put the car in stopover the same way you do right now.
To perform a Stopover via App:
Open the HOURCAR app and select the “Pause” button. You should hear the doors lock, meaning you’ve done everything right. When you’re ready to resume your trip, press the “Resume” button to unlock the doors.
To Perform a Stopover via GoTo Card:
Hold your GoTo Card on the front reader for 1 second, until the yellow light starts to blink. You should hear the doors lock after moving your card away, meaning you’ve done everything right! When you’re ready to resume your trip, hold your GoTo Card on the front reader for 1 second, the yellow light will blink the doors will unlock.
Press down on the brake pedal and then push Start and return to your journey.
Plug It In Upon Return
As the pilot expands, each location may have a slightly different charging process. Here’s what you need to know:
University of MN: 4th Street Ramp (Ground level, near 4th St Entrance):
All trips at this location require the vehicle to be plugged in upon completion. This is because the charging strength is a “Level 1”, meaning it takes longer to charge the car than other locations.
Complete your trip in the designated HOURCAR parking stall. Make sure you have everything removed from the vehicle and end your trip via App or GoTo Card. Open the charge door and plug in the charger. You’ll see the light on the dashboard blink green and a musical beeping noise. The charging unit on the wall will illuminate the “charging” light when correctly plugged in.
The car will charge while it waits for its next trip. If you experience problems, give us a ring and we’re happy to help!
If you have the car and there is a low charge, locate the Chargepoint card in the glovebox, and charge the car at any Chargepoint location. Chargepoint locations are Level 2 and Level 3 (DCFC – Rapid Charge), so the car will charge faster at these locations than at the 4th St Ramp dedicated stall.
Minneapolis A Ramp (Skyway Level, near 9th St & Hawthorn Ave corner):
Charge the Bolt at this ramp, especially if the charge is less than 50% when you complete your trip. Here’s how:
There is a charging card in the glove box. Waive the RFID card over the charging station to unlock the charging handle. Plug it into the Bolt. Once the car starts charging, the light on the dashboard blinks green and you’ll hear a little tune so you know it’s successful.
Return the card to the glove box (insert it into the holder) and end your trip like you usually would. Once the doors lock and the car reader lights up green, you know all is good. The car will charge while it waits for its next trip. If you experience problems, give us a ring and we’re happy to help!
Ending Your Trip
Like all cars in the HOURCAR fleet, the car must be back at the hub you started at to end the trip.
To end your trip, make sure the car is off and you have all of your belongings out. You’ll know the car is ready to end your trip when it honks 3 times after you’ve removed all of your gear and closed all doors.
End by App:
If the car has honked 3 times, select the “End Trip” button on the app. You should hear the doors lock, meaning your trip has been completed. The green light on the card scanner in the window will also blink green.
End by GoTo Card:
If the car has honked 3 times, hold your GoTo Card over the reader for 5 seconds, until the green and yellow lights are lit up. You should hear the doors lock and the reader will blink green, meaning your trip is completed.
Since this is a pilot, we have a special section for FAQ’s. The more FAQ’s we get, the more we will be updating this page. We’re also going to survey you to gather your input, so add “firstname.lastname@example.org” to your email’s safe list.
Please check this website before every Bolt reservation to make sure you have the most updated information.
Sure! Share some feedback here and we’ll give you a code for $5 Drive Credit towards your next trip. *Drive credit is only valid for 60 days once applied to your account and is automatically applied to your next trip.
This program focuses on the future. We tried to bulk-order DMC DeLorean’s but ‘Back to the Future’ called and said it wasn’t made anymore and apparently flying cars aren’t a thing. So we went electric instead.
The EV Spot Network is a project being developed by the City of Saint Paul, City of Minneapolis, HOURCAR, and Xcel Energy to create a network of electric vehicle charging hubs throughout the Twin Cities and make electric vehicles publicly available through the Evie carsharing service.
EV Spot Network will be launching later this year – learn more here.
Right now we have 100 Chevrolet Bolts, we’ll let time tell.
We don’t have an exact date yet, but right now it’s projected to end in August 2021. We want to make sure we get the data needed before we launch Evie Carshare, a one-way free-floating model. That’s why it’s important for you to fill out the surveys and let us know how things went.
With the information currently provided, we do not foresee there being issues with charging the EVs during the winter. Any EV that drops below a certain charge (same as our current fleet) will be automatically placed in Out of Service mode and our system will notify us of the issue. Additionally, it’s summer, so let’s stick to happy thoughts.
We currently have a Bolt for testing at U of M – 4th Street Ramp. As the test progresses, we may release more vehicles into temporary locations.
In our current app, you’ll need to call our Member Services Team and we can let you know the range/charge on the Bolt you’re about to drive. In our next app update, you’ll be able to see the range available.
On a full charge, the Bolt gets about 260 miles. Just like with gas-powered vehicles, driving efficiently will increase the mileage, driving with a heavy foot will decrease. When you drive the Bolt in “L” gear, energy will be restored back to the battery, providing a slight increase in range.
We do. Every time you end your trip with the Bolt, during this pilot, please plug the car in. At the 4th Street Ramp, no charging card is needed.
How-To Info for All HOURCAR Trips
How to use the HOURCAR app
Using the HOURCAR app is the recommended way to access vehicles and make reservations. For more detailed instructions on how to use the app, check out these documents:
Using a reservation with a Metro Transit GoTo card
If you do not have a smartphone or would like an additional backup method to access an HOURCAR, you can use your Metro Transit GoTo card! If you have a Metro Transit GoTo card, fill out this form so we can link it to your account. If you do not have a Metro Transit GoTo card, let us know and we can mail you one.
For more detailed instructions, check out this document:
- Accessing the vehicle and using your trip with a GoTo card
- To extend a trip, give us a call at 612.343.2277