City CarShare says more than half its fleet is green

Courtesy photoCity CarShare is among three car sharing companies operating in San Francisco that have together requested 450 of 900 parking spaces available.

San Francisco-based City CarShare announced Thursday that it has achieved the greenest fleet of any similar organization offering a full spectrum of vehicles in the country, and it has done so more than a year ahead of its goal.

The 413-vehicle nonprofit, which in 2011 aimed to convert half of its fleet to all-electric, hybrid or plug-in hybrid vehicles by 2015, is now 54 percent green.

According to City CarShare’s electric fleet program manager, Mike Harrigan, three driving factors sped up the process — grants from the Federal Highway Administration, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District; a partnership with Toyota that has provided 15 plug-in electric vehicles; and funding for larger battery packs on existing vehicles.

“The reality is, we can probably get our fleet in three to four years to 75, maybe 80 percent green, but part of it depends on the automobile industry — if they move other vehicle types into electric types,” Harrigan said. “We’re not getting a pickup or a minivan yet, and we try to make a lot of vehicles available for different uses.”

City CarShare currently offers several levels of pricing, with electric battery and plug-in vehicles typically at the lowest rate and hybrids at the second tier. The nonprofit, founded in The City in 2001, is continuing to probe drivers’ interest in using green cars.

“Anecdotally, it seems once they use electric cars, they really like them and tend to try to use them over again,” Harrigan said.

With one goal met, the nonprofit is pushing two other initiatives — removing 20,000 cars from the streets and saving the Bay Area $1 billion in ownership costs by 2020.

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