Hertz Brings Nissan LEAF Electric Car Sharing to New York

Hertz LEAF Seward Park NYBy John Addison (5/12/11)

Electric Cars Shared by the Hour for City Dwellers

Most trips in New York are done with transit and walking. Some people are saving over $10,000 per year by using car sharing, rather than own a car and pay New York City parking fees. Thanks to Connect by Hertz Car Sharing, cars are available by the hour for special trips, loading up during weekly shopping, or heading out of the city. Those hourly cars can now be electric cars such as the Nissan LEAF or Chevrolet Volt.

As part of its Global Electric Vehicle (EV) expansion throughout New York City, Connect by Hertz (NYSE:HTZ) is adding the LEAF to Manhattan’s Seward Park Co-op.  In an effort to make electric cars a viable option for its residents, Seward Park has installed four Coulomb Technologies networked charging.

New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, “By opening this electric charging station and electric car rental hub, Seward Park Cooperative has put our Lower East Side community on the leading edge of our vitally important effort to make renewable and sustainable energy a viable option for New Yorkers. It is past time that we develop workable and clean alternatives to gasoline. In a city with high asthma rates and heavy pollution from car exhaust, encouraging people to use electric cars will not only let us breathe easier, it could literally save lives”

Electric Car Charging in Multi-Tenant Dwellings

Electric car sales and charging are off to a good start in the United States with drivers who have single family homes with garages to install chargers. This limits the potential market for electric cars now that most Americans live in urban areas. Manhattan isn’t exactly loaded with single family homes, nor is Chicago, nor San Francisco. The electric utility industry has tried to promote plug-in hybrids and charging at work as the solution because these have little effect on their infrastructure. Multi-tenant dwellings often need added utility meters, upgraded transformers, EVSE located near meter rooms, new bylaws, and tenant agreement about preferred parking spaces. Shared electric cars charged in shared spaces provide a wonderful multi-tenant solution.

Seward Park provides an effective model for city dwellers across the country. Located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Seward Park Co-op is one of the largest free market co-ops in Manhattan with more than 1700 apartments, approximately 50 commercial tenants, 13 acres of land and more than 4000 residents.   Celebrating its 50th year, Seward Park has a strong commitment to the environment, working with demand response provider Comverge and the Clean Energy Network NY, and is in the process of opening a green market on Hester Street.

Chevrolet Volt, Nissan LEAF, Smart ED, Prius from Connect by Hertz

Connect by Hertz car sharing has approximately 30,000 members, is available in six countries and on 54 university campuses. Connect by Hertz offers its members a fee free program, one way usage for New York City area members, guaranteed reservations; a variety of electric cars, including the Nissan LEAF, Chevrolet Volt, and the Smart ED which fits in New Yorks smallest parking spaces; an in-house 24/7/365 Member Care Center; an in-car GPS system in every vehicle, included in the hourly rate; easy website and smart apps; and rates as low as $5 in Manhattan.

ChargePoint Network

Electric car drivers, like those living at Seward Park, can join the ChargePoint Network. Coulomb Technologies is a leader in electric vehicle charging systems and application services, with the ChargePoint Network now operating in 14 countries. The ChargePoint Network provides multiple web-based portals for Hosts, Fleet Managers, Drivers, and Utilities, and ChargePoint Networked Charging Stations ranging in capability from 120 Volt to 240 Volt AC charging with plans for DC fast charging. The ChargePoint Network gives all EV drivers real-time status and location of unoccupied charging stations, tracking and reporting greenhouse gas and gasoline savings, and charging status notification, all by SMS, email or smart phone applications. ChargePoint America will provide 4,600 public and home ChargePoint Networked Charging Stations by October 2011.

Hertz Green Competition with Enterprise and Zipcar

Car sharing is popular in cities with good transit, in universities, and in fleet programs. Zipcar has taken a lead with the most carshare members, most locations, and a successful IPO, but it now faces increased car share competition from rental giants Hertz and Enterprise. Connect by Hertz,  Hertz global car sharing club, has more than 700 vehicles, approximately 30,000 members and more than 200 locations worldwide, including corporate offices and universities.

Enterprise ordered 500 Nissan LEAFs, but only has a handful in rental lots. Hertz announced deployment of lots of Smart ED, but little has happened since Penske’s handoff of Smart to Daimler. Both Hertz and Enterprise have announced plans with Coda, which continues to delay production. Zipcar was first to carshare Prius converted to plug-in hybrids and has bigger electric car plans. Yes, there have been expected delays, but now electric car deployment is accelerating. Hertz, Enterprise, and Zipcar could each have over one thousand electric cars available for members sometime next year.

Hertz is serious about being green. Hertz now has megawatts of solar covering buildings and parking structures. Hertz is an Energy Star Partner with the U.S. EPA, doing everything from installing LED lighting to minimizing energy used by idle computers. Energy efficiency and flexwork save energy and fuel. Hertz offers renters a Green Traveler Collection for rentals of hybrids such as the Prius, Camry Hybrid, and Altima Hybrid.

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About Author: John Addison

Founder of the Clean Fleet Report, author of Save Gas, Save the Planet. John writes about electric cars, renewable energy, and sustainability. (c) Copyright John Addison. Permission to repost up to a 200 word summary if a link is included to the original article at Clean Fleet Report.

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