Evie Carshare Program Hits the Ground in the Twin Cities
June 21, 2022 | Abby Hornberger | Environment
Photo courtesy of Abby Hornberger
HOURCAR launched its new Evie carshare and spot network program in April 2022 as the first city-owned electric carshare service in the US with over 150 electric vehicles and 280 charging spots available for trips around the Twin Cities. The program received a Metro CERT Seed Grant that funded community engagement with local stakeholders, incorporating feedback received into the program’s design.
After a few hiccups, the Evie carshare program now makes affordable zero-emission transportation a reality for all. I was looking for an opportunity to try the exciting new program and finally had a chance to test it out. Here, I’ll describe my experience as a first-time user of Evie.
I signed up for the trial plan through the Evie website by submitting a copy of my driver’s license, payment method for future use, and a quick selfie. Applications are reviewed and processed within one to three days. Anyone over 18 years old and with no alcohol or drug-related violations within the past seven years is eligible.
The perfect opportunity arose to try out Evie when carpooling with friends to the Women’s Environmental Network Annual Event during Earth month. On a rainy Wednesday afternoon, I easily found a vehicle located two blocks from my apartment. Through the HOURCAR app, I selected the vehicle and clicked “reserve this car,” and I heard the car doors unlock in front of me—no key was necessary. I got in the vehicle and pressed the power button to start.
Note: Users can also use their GoTo Metro Transit card to unlock any Evie vehicle.
I picked up four friends around Minneapolis and traveled to Saint Paul and back, totaling about 24.5 miles round trip. Passengers remarked on how clean the car was and how smooth the ride was, having never ridden in an EV before. The trip saved me gas money and reduced harmful emissions.
When we arrived at our destination, we removed all our belongings. I clicked the “end this trip” button in my app and immediately heard the car doors lock. While we attended the event, we parked the vehicle temporarily in a free parking ramp. The vehicle was still there 3 hours later; however, they quickly get picked up when parked on the street.
Note: Drivers can park the vehicle at any authorized parking spot within the 35-mile zone—including paid meter parking spots for up to 2 hours—thus eliminating another typical cost of driving in the Twin Cities.
With HOURCAR’s limited time promotion, I joined as a new driver for one dollar and received a 25-dollar ride credit. To further increase accessibility, the program’s Access Plus membership is only one dollar a month and provides optional reduced rates for income-qualified customers. Additionally, Evie’s student membership starts at six dollars a month.
Explore the program’s individual, business, and student plans for more details about the cost of membership.
After such a positive first experience, I decided to upgrade to the Access Plus plan. To qualify for the Access Plus membership, the member must self-certify that their household income is 50 percent or less of the area medium income.
For short trips around the cities, Evie provides a great way to cut down on emissions for a relatively low cost. Vehicle sightings are common in the Twin Cities, illustrating the reliability of the network.
I’m looking forward to continuing to use the network and spreading the word to neighbors to take advantage of this convenient and equity-minded program. Anyone in the Twin Cities area should try out Evie for short trips to your favorite park, running errands, or visiting a museum.