Toyota Offers Prius Models for Zipcar Car-Sharing Service

Toyota is offering eight of its next generation of electric cars to members of the Zipcar car-sharing service that is available in Boston, San Francisco, and Portland. The Toyota Prius vehicles are offered to Zipcar's fleet of vehicles as part of a pilot program designed to explore how the next-generation technology can work in expansive car-share programs.

"Zipcar is an ideal test bed for early consumer acceptance of EVs," says Scott Griffith, Chairman and CEO, Zipcar. "This project will allow companies to receive direct feedback from thousands of consumers in three different cities and help evaluate how EVs fit into a large-scale car sharing model."1

Toyota's plug-in Prius, scheduled to hit dealership lots in 2012, can run at 62 mph on pure electric power for about 13 miles. It then shifts into conventional Prius hybrid mode, averaging about 50 mpg.

Zipcar is planning on testing the durability of both 110-volt outlets (charge time: 3 hours) and 220-volt chargers (charge time: 1.5 hours) to optimize its availability of its new Toyota Prius fleet. The plug-in Toyota Prius will be available to customers at $7.00/hr.

This isn't the first time that Zipcar has ventured into the option of using EV technology. The company actually launched its first all-electric car-share pod in London, in 2009. The cars consisted of non other than a converted plug-in Prius, and a pure electric Citroën C1. Later in 2009, the car-share company introduced the converted plug-in Toyota Prius to its San Francisco market. They have found that customers are usually more enthusiastic about experimental technology if they don't actually have to purchase anything.

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