We are still working out the details, but we wanted to give you a basic idea of how this whole thing will work. We are in the process of gathering community input to help us develop the car-sharing service, so stay tuned for updates.
The Car-Sharing Service
If you want to use these car-share vehicles when they are available in 2021, you will first need to apply for an HOURCAR membership to verify that you have a driver's license, you are over 18 years old, and a few other details. You can visit HOURCAR's Become a Member page to see how you would apply for membership now, although this process may change.
Charging the Vehicles: The electric cars will need to be charged periodically at one of the new charging hubs throughout the cities, but you don't have to be the one plugging them in. When you finish your trip, you can look at a map to see which charging hubs near you have spots available. Most of the time, you'll be able to park the car on the street if that's more convenient. However, you may be asked to park the car at a charging hub in some cases when the car is low on charge. We are exploring ways we could discount your trip if you choose to park at a charging hub.
The Service Area: The service area is the region of the Twin Cities in which the cars will circulate. You will be able to look at a map of the service area to find a car. Then, when you finish driving, you can park the car in any legal street-side parking space in the service area or at any of the charging hubs where spots are available. When necessary, HOURCAR will move vehicles to make sure they are charged up well-distributed throughout the service area.
The Charging Hubs
As part of this project, there will be electric vehicle charging hubs built throughout the Twin Cities. At each hub, there will be at least one charger available for public use as well as chargers reserved for HOURCAR's car-sharing vehicles. These hubs will substantially grow the existing charging network. One of the goals of creating this network is to make it easier for people to purchase to electric vehicles knowing that they can easily charge them throughout the cities. The cost of EVs is dropping fast. As soon as 2024, many EVs will be less expensive than gas-powered cars of a similar model. When prices fall, we expect higher demand for public charging, and this network will help meet that demand.
How We Choose Charging Hub Locations
We know from other communities that that car-sharing is most successful in areas with a high density of residents and good transit service. We also know that car-sharing and good transit service has not always been accessible in an equitable way. Our goal is to expand access in Saint Paul and Minneapolis, placing them in some neighborhoods that have never had car-sharing before so that more people can access this resource.
Within each neighborhood in the service area, we're working to make the hubs conveniently and centrally located. We're taking into account a host of factors in placing these hubs proximity to affordable housing, multi-family housing units, local businesses, schools, libraries, recreation centers, while also locating them close to public transit networks and bike-friendly streets. In Minneapolis, siting is being coordinated with their mobility hubs pilot program. There are many logistic factors as well, including where there is space available and other city planning activities. Finally, we're considering hyper-local information such as unmarked loading zones and other local curbside activities that we would find alternative solutions for as part of this project. See below for general locations of the 35 charging hubs in each City; as the locations get finalized, a new map will be available and adjacent tenants/property owners will be directly notified.
|Saint Paul map of general charging hub locations--subject to change||Minneapolis map of general charging hub locations--subject to change|