Zipcar Launches “FastFleet” First Integrated Service for Public Sector Vehicle Fleets

Zipcar Launches “FastFleet” First Integrated Service for Public Sector Vehicle Fleets

FastFleet by Zipcar

FastFleet by Zipcar

(5/6/09) Washington D.C. first to optimize fleet programs allowing managers to eliminate cars, save money and reduce emissions

PRNewswire — Zipcar today announced FastFleet by Zipcar, a new service that enables government and other fleet managers to save money, reduce risk and promote sustainability. With FastFleet, for the first time, fleet operators may leverage the same technology that powers Zipcar’s consumer fleet. Washington, D.C., which is the first city in the country to adopt the system, estimates it has saved more than $300,000 during a four month pilot of FastFleet. As expansion plans are underway, the District of Columbia estimates it will save more than $1 million in the first 12 months.

“I believe that technology can be used to create efficiency and save taxpayer money,” said Washington D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. “FastFleet has allowed us to better optimize our fleet and we will continue to evaluate our existing fleet and look for additional cost saving opportunities.”

Nationally, approximately 4 million vehicles currently are deployed across thousands of fleets within local, state and federal governments. Typically, fleets are sized to meet peak demand, which means on a daily basis thousands of these cars and trucks sit idle. FastFleet’s smart, secure vehicle access enables fleet administrators to easily transition from inefficient, dedicated vehicles, to high efficiency shared vehicles with no reduction in availability for drivers. Additionally, FastFleet-equipped vehicles can be located in a distributed network of locations, instead of a centralized “depot”. Employees use an intuitive reservation system over the web, phone or mobile device, to select and reserve vehicles. A swipe of a wallet size access card unlocks the doors of a reserved vehicle, courtesy of an integrated card reader mounted under the windshield.

“At a time when governments across the country are being asked to do more with less, FastFleet makes it easy for them to quickly and easily reduce costs while still meeting the mobility needs of their employees,” said Scott Griffith, Zipcar’s chairman and CEO. “FastFleet by Zipcar is a new model of efficiency, cost savings and environmental benefit for fleet managers. This is a national roll-out of a new Zipcar line of business.”

“Sharing a fleet of small, new, fuel-efficient cars helps keep pollutants out of our air and water,” said George S. Hawkins, Director of the District Department of the Environment. “And, as Zipcar users already know, every quart of oil, set of tires and pair of wiper blades has an environmental cost. Using fewer vehicles will lower that cost.”

FastFleet mirrors Zipcar’s car-sharing model with one key difference: FastFleet does not supply the vehicles. Instead, client fleet administrators determine the numbers, types and locations of vehicles, which are then equipped with FastFleet’s in-vehicle technology, wirelessly linking them to a dedicated FastFleet server. While FastFleet makes reserving and driving a vehicle a snap for employees, the benefits to fleet managers are even more significant. FastFleet’s administration console enables unprecedented visibility and control over the vehicles in the fleet.

With FastFleet, fleet administrators may:

* Design and configure their fleet footprint in real time for optimal utilization
* Locate and track vehicles through a global positioning system
* Manage hundreds of critical activities including preventive maintenance, fueling, billing, and fleet distribution, just to name a few
* Analyze usage and diagnostic data, automatically captured during every trip
* Utilize FastFleet’s robust, experience-driven analytics to stay on top of trends, ahead of situations and in control of their fleet

Zipcar is the world’s leading car-sharing service with 275,000 members and 6,000 vehicles in urban areas and college campuses throughout 26 North American states and provinces as well as in London, England. As a leader in urban transportation, Zipcar offers more than 30 makes and models of self-service vehicles by the hour or day to savvy city residents and businesses looking for an alternative to the high costs and hassles of owning a car in the city.

Car Sharing Competition: Hertz and Enterprise Chase Zipcar

Car Sharing Competition: Hertz and Enterprise Chase Zipcar

Connect by Hertz offers Prius by the Hour

Connect by Hertz offers Prius by the Hour

By John Addison. New car sharing programs allow two or more people to need only one car. Each shared vehicle results in 6 to 23 cars not being owned. Once someone joins a car share program, they cut their vehicle miles traveled up to 80 percent. Introduced first in Europe, car sharing is now growing in the United States with over 200 car share programs operating in over 600 cities.

Zipcar is the leader in car sharing with over 260,000 members. Car sharing is popular with individuals who live car free in a city, with couples who share one car, with university students and staff, and with corporate fleet and travel managers.

Zipcar makes car sharing easy. After a simple enrollment a member is issued a Zipcard. Members reserve a car online or on the phone. At the appropriate hour, they go to their designated car, parked in one of many lots in the city. A Zipcard is used to enter the vehicle and drive until returned to the reserved parking space. A variety of vehicles are available in their program from hybrids to SUVs.

Hertz, as the largest international rental car company, has entered the car sharing market by launching the Connect by Hertz car sharing club, with neighborhood parking in London, New York City and Paris. Hertz plans to expand into additional cities, as well as universities, in 2009. As Hertz expands, it can leverage its established presence in 8,100 locations in 144 countries worldwide.

Membership in Connect by Hertz includes insurance, fuel, roadside assistance, maintenance and cleaning. Connect by Hertz members enjoy a paperless program where they can reserve, drive and return vehicles all on their own, via the internet or phone. “Connect by Hertz supports Hertz’s diversified business model by providing best-in-class transportation solutions across the spectrum of customer needs,” commented Mark P. Frissora, Chairman and CEO of The Hertz Corporation. “In addition to being environmentally friendly, Connect by Hertz cars can save members thousands of dollars a year in vehicle ownership costs and, by leveraging Hertz’s established infrastructure, we’re the first major car rental company to be able to offer members the first global car sharing program.”

The showcase car of the Connect by Hertz fleet in the United States is the Toyota Prius.  The fuel emissions of the London and Paris cars are significantly less than the voluntary target of a maximum 140 g/km CO2 output set by the EU.

To unlock and engage the Hertz vehicle, members simply swipe their membership card, the Connect card, over the car’s radio-frequency identification (RFID) reader. In car, a hands-free audio kit connects members to a Member Care Center representative should they have questions, need assistance or need to extend their rental.  The in-car technology also enables Connect by Hertz to ‘communicate’ with the vehicle enabling representatives to unlock, engage and locate vehicles.  The technologically savvy cars are also equipped with iPod connectivity and, in the US, NeverLost® in-car navigation systems and EZ Pass transponders.

Hertz may prove to be tough competition in market segments where it is already strong, such as corporate and fleet programs. Enterprise and Zipcar are starting to compete in these areas. Jeff Parell, senior vice president, Enterprise, emphasized, “Our WeCar program can be customized to fit the unique needs of any of our partners, including businesses, government agencies, and universities. So, it gives employees or students the flexibility to attend off-site business meetings, visit customers or vendors…”

Brendan Lange personally lives car free, but is enthusiastic about Zipcar for Business. Brendan’s firm coordinates major corporate events and meetings. Brendan’s job is to help clients make the events greener with the best selection of venues, food, beverage, and other choices. Through Zipcar the firm can use different types of vehicles by the hour to match varied needs: little cars for errands, small SUVs for hauling stuff, and upscale four-door sedans for taking clients on tours of potential event sites.

San Francisco claims to be the most successful city in car sharing. Although Hertz has not entered the S.F. car share market, Zipcar has strong competition from City CarShare, a nonprofit with a diverse fleet that includes cars that can fit in city parking spaces too small for many vehicles including Volkswagen Beetles, Mini Coopers, and Smart cars. City CarShare has more than 6,000 members in San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley. “Two-thirds of our members either sell a car or don’t buy a car,” said CEO Rick Hutchinson.

United States Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi stated, “I’m proud to be a long-time supporter of City CarShare and I applaud their members for saving more than 1 million gallons of gas over the last five years.”

Car sharing is destined to grow and attract growing competition.

Copyright © John Addison. Excerpts of this article will appear in his upcoming book – Save Gas, Save the Planet. John Addison publishes the Clean Fleet Report.