Car-sharing company Zipcar, Inc., has expanded in Minneapolis—the 21st major metro area in which it now operates.
Since 2005, Zipcar has offered car sharing on the University of Minnesota campus, where the company said it has been “extremely well received.”
Zipcar said Wednesday that it has placed 40 vehicles in various locations throughout the city, including Dinkytown, Downtown, Loring Park, Northeast, the North Loop, and Seven Corners.
Zipcar has both hourly and daily rates, which include gas, reserved parking spots, insurance, and up to 180 miles of driving each day. Rates on local vehicles start at $8.75 per hour and go up to $72 for a 24-hour period.
Throughout this year, Zipcar plans to continue to expand operations throughout additional areas of Minneapolis and St. Paul.
“I’m very excited to welcome Zipcar to Minneapolis,” Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said in a statement. “Their expansion in our city is great news for people who want to spend their money on things other than owning a car.”
Zipcar now offers a variety of vehicle types in Minneapolis, including SUVs like the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape, environmentally friendly hybrids like the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight, hatchbacks like the Ford Focus and Mazda 3, and luxury vehicles like the Audi A3 and the Mercedes-Benz C300.
Zipcars have their own individual names, which enables members to request a specific vehicle and even ask for the same vehicle again and again.
Zipcar said that members who join it can “help reduce downtown parking demand, traffic congestion, and the city’s carbon footprint overall, and help to foster a more walkable and bikeable community.”
Zipcar isn’t the only local car-sharing program. St. Paul-based HourCar, a program of nonprofit Neighborhood Energy Connection, pioneered car sharing in Minnesota in 2005. That service costs $6 to $8 per hour and 25 cents per mile.
Zipcar said that it will work with Minneapolis officials to establish on-street parking spots, and according to a Star Tribune report, the Minneapolis City Council on Friday signed off on a two-year pilot program that will allow several car-sharing companies—including Zipcar—to leave vehicles at on-street spots.
The original plan reportedly granted the on-street spots exclusively to German company Car2Go, which specializes in two-seat Smart Cars and which earlier this month was selected by the City of Minneapolis to spearhead a car-sharing experiment that hopes to attract more riders. But on Friday, after HourCar sharply criticized city leaders, council members amended the pilot program to include multiple vendors.
Car2Go, a subsidiary of auto manufacturer Daimler AG, doesn’t currently have a Minneapolis presence.
Zipcar operates in urban areas and on college campuses throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Austria. It offers more than 30 makes and models of vehicles. Zipcar is a subsidiary of Parsippany, New Jersey-based Avis Budget Group, Inc., a car-sharing and vehicle rental services company.
This article is reprinted in partnership with Twin Cities Business.