The number of households in America without a vehicle has doubled over the past two decades, with 9.3 percent of American households going carless last year.
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Zipcar, the leading car sharing service in North America, is set to be bought by car rental firm Avis Budgest group for about $500 million, which breaks down to $12.25 per share.
Zipcar, the nations largest car sharing service, is teaming up with Honda to provide customers with the latest in fuel saving cars and EVs.
All Zipcar customers, known as Zipsters, will have access to Honda’s Insight hybrid, the new CR-V and the all electric Fit EV come this fall. The Accord plug-in hybrid will be added to the stable beginning in early 2013.
Zipcar’s urban presence has driven up the demand for fuel efficient small vehicles which make more sense in the city, and Honda is answering the demand, also spurred by the fact that Zipcar customers have consistently rated Honda vehicles as the most favored cars in the fleet.
“As the car sharing market leader, Zipcar is the best choice for us to showcase our newest energy-efficient transportation technologies, given the strength of their brand, their tech-savvy, conscious and connected members and the geographic reach of their operations,” said Steven Center, the vice president of the Environmental Business Development Office at American Honda.
Zipcar was the first car sharing company in the US to adopt electric vehicles to its roster, and is now expanding on its fuel efficient choices to make sure that they stay current with the the latest market trends.
Zipcar, the world’s leading car sharing network, has decided to add five Chevrolet Volts to its Chicago fleet with up to 20 more EVs coming in 2012.
Zipcar members are able to reserve a Chevy Volt immediately starting at just $10 per hour. The first five Volts are available at Cityfront Place Apartments and in University Village at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Zipcar plans on deploying EVs throughout the city and is working with 350Green to install EV charging stations where the Zipcar EVs will be. Other partners in the program include Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Tishman Speyer, LAZ Parking and Cityfront Place Apartments. All of the above are helping to provide locations for the EVs along with charging stations.
Since most Zipcar members employ the use of their vehicles for less than 35 miles, the Volt is a perfect fit – or any EV for that matter – for the Zipcar program. Ideally most members would never have to pay for gas since the EVs will have charging stations conveniently located at several locations.
The City of Chicago is installing hundreds of EV charging stations for public use throughout the year as part of its Chicago Climate Action Plan. Zipcar has always been a huge supporter of advanced vehicle technologies. It was the first car sharing company in the U.S. to add EVs to its fleet with the Toyota RAV4 EVs in Boston back in 2002 and was the first to offer hybrids in the Seattle market in 2003.
“We are looking forward to providing our Chicago Zipsters with increased opportunities to reduce their environmental impact and drive some of the most technologically-advanced vehicles on the road as we roll out this EV program over the coming months,” said Charles Stephens, general manager, Zipcar Chicago. “Freedom has always been a hallmark of the Zipcar experience, and now members can have the best of both worlds – the low carbon experience of an electric car with the back-up security of a gas engine – as we introduce the new Volts into our fleet this week.”
There were probably a few times in college when you and your friends really wished someone had a car you could use for a little while.
Maybe you needed to get groceries, or beer, or just a healthy distance from dorm rooms and campus nonsense. Whatever the need, California-based company Wheelz Inc. is trying to address it by linking students who have cars, and don’t always need them, with campus members who need short-term wheels.
Wheelz Inc., uses the idea of peer-to-peer car sharing to offer students a specifically-targeted platform for getting a car when they need one. The company received a major boost when Zipcar, the industry leader in car sharing, invested $13.7 million in their project.
“One of the reasons we’re excited to partner with Zipcar is that they bring a decade of operational experience,” Wheelz CEO Jeff Miller said.
That operational experience, according to Miller, will play a key role in helping Wheelz grow as a business in the future. Currently, anyone associated with Stanford, UC Berkeley, USC and UCLA are able to participate in the program. Students, administrators, teachers and anyone with a “.edu” email address from a participating campus may participate.
Zipcar’s growing success in the rental car business has encouraged the company to expand to cargo van rental services.
Aiming its sights at van rental companies, U-Haul and Budget, Zipvan will have a pilot release in the San Francisco and Oakland area, beginning with a fleet of only six Ford E-150 vans in three San Francisco neighborhoods and expanding by early January to 15 vans throughout the bay. The birthplace of the alternative rock sub-genre, grunge, Zipvan hopes to better serve young college students, local musicians, bands, and artists alike. Zipcar has long built its business by catering to college students.
While Zipvan’s starting price of $14.75/hour or $99 a day may not always undercut U-Haul, Zipvan believes its flexible options and convenience in ordering a van will ultimately make their business model more appealing. Zipvan members can skip extensive paperwork and simply log onto their account and reserve a van via four simple taps on their smartphone.
Another key differentiation between Zipvan and U-Haul is the convenience of renting either by the hour or by the day. What’s more, U-Haul and Budget usually charge a base rate while the renter will be responsible for purchasing gasoline. Zipcar, on the other hand, will include gasoline, insurance and up to 180 miles of travel per day in a complete package.
Finally, Zipcar will not apply extra fees for drivers aged 21-23. Budget Rentals, on the other hand, add on $18 per day for young drivers.
If the pilot proves successful, Zipvan will expand its service to other North American markets in 2012.
During their first day of public trading on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange in New York, shares of Zipcar Inc., the car sharing organization, jumped by as much as 67 percent, opening at $30, considerably higher than the initial offering price.
The company, created in 2003, managed to raise $174.3 million to enact an Initial Public Offering of stock on April 13; 31 percent greater that it initially sought on the market. Selling 9.7 million shares at $18 a piece (up from original plans for 8.3 million at $14-$16), the results of the first day’s trading (up to $30 a share and closing at $28),were strong encouragement, especially since in 2010, Zipcar posted a net loss of some $14.1 million (up from $4.67 million a year earlier).
Nevertheless, revenue increased in the same period by some 42 percent, to $186.1 million and now, with hot demand for its publicly traded stock, the company hopes to reduce debt and continue plans to expand internationally.
Currently, Zipcar boasts a network of 230 campuses and operates in 14 different cities in the US, Canada and the United Kingdom.
[Source: Automotive News]
On of the world’s top car sharing companies, Zipcar, is planning to make an initial public offering. It recently amended its Securities and Exchange Commission filing, and is now seeking about $89.2 million from sale of 8.3 million shares at around $14-16 each.
The company has been in business since 1999 with regional service for its by-the-hour hybrid rentals. Zipcar has been making money, but also plagued by expenses keeping it from being an outright success story.
Nevertheless, it is moving forward to sell 6.6 million shares with stockholders selling an additional 1.6 million. The deal is being underwritten by Goldman Sachs and Co. and JPMorgan.
The company is expected to be listed on the NASDAQ exchange under “ZIP.” This is essentially what the company netted after losses in 2009, when the green company reported being $4.7 million in the red.
It has garnered 400,000 paying customers in the decade since opening. Some of its IPO will go toward repayment of debt.
Are company cars destined to be a relic of the past? Probably not, but companies are begging to adopt a new kind of corporate vehicle, one that can be paid for by the hour and operated by Hertz or Zipcar, two of the biggest names in auto-sharing programs.
An article in the New York Times focuses on Hertz’s Connect by Hertz program, as well as Zipcar, which are seeing an increasing number of corporate clients. Employees can use the cars for anything from sales calls to grocery shopping, and the cost savings are substantial. One Boston area firm cut costs from $43,000 per employee to $6,500, just by switching from a livery car service to Zipcar.
At a cost of only $5 per hour to the employees, which includes parking, gas and insurance, car-sharing looks like a no brainer, even if the fleet is heavily skewed to the Toyota Prius and other less than exciting vehicles.
[Source: New York Times]
Feel like driving a BMW today? If you live in Munich, you’ll be able to rent one whenever the mood strikes you with BMW on Demand.
Just like the Zipcar service, BMW is taking it up a notch by offering premium vehicles that can be rented by the hour. The BMW on Demand service allows customers to choose from a range of BMW vehicles, like the 5 Series, the Z4 or the M6. The car-sharing service will only be available in Munich, but it could expand to major European cities, and the pilot project will initially run over the course of a year.
Perfect for impressing a date or a potential client, you are able to book the preferred model with choices in color and with desired equipment. There is also staff on hand to help you make your pick.
If you’re in Munich and want to try this service out, you can book via the BMW Welt website at www.bmw-welt.de/bmw-on-demand or by calling the hotline on +49 89 3184-3430. Depending on what you pick, the hourly fees vary. For example, a 1 Series BMW, costs €16 an hour (roughly $22 an hour), while a 5 Series BMW costs €23 an hour (roughly $32 an hour). Prices also vary depending on the time of day.
Starting in 2011, Hertz will add the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle to its fleet, after the car is released to the general public in late 2010. “We expect to have the car available in select American cities next year,” Hertz Spokeswoman Paula Rivera told the New York Times. “We’re in the process of finalizing the list.”
Rivera also said that areas where demand for an EV is high, such as California, could get priority allocation of the Leaf. “Realistically, we look at high-demand location — where the consumer base is asking for them,” Rivera said. ”When we introduced the Toyota Prius, California was one of the hot locations, and we’re anticipating something similar with the Leaf.”
The Leaf may also appear at Connect by Hertz car-charing locations in some major cities. Connect operates in places like New York, Boston, Washington D.C., London, Paris, Madrid and Berlin, all major urban centers that are ideal for an electric vehicle. Rival firm Zipcar has already introduced plug-in vehicles to its London fleet.
[Source: New York Times]