Hourcar plans to go electric

The car-sharing service Hourcar plans on offering an expanded, all-electric fleet of vehicles within the next few years, it announced April 2.

The St. Paul-based nonprofit is working with Xcel Energy on plans for its new line, which it hopes to introduce by mid-2020. It plans on increasing the number of cars in its fleet and its number of docking stations as part of the changes, said David Zeller, Hourcar’s marketing manager.

Hourcar began operating in 2005, allowing program members check out hybrid vehicles. It’s expanded over the past 12-plus years to include about 60 vehicles and 2,300 members, Zeller said. It stores those vehicles at 52 locations around Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Program members pay a monthly fee plus additional fees for each ride. Hourcar requires members to drop off the vehicles at the same location at which they picked them up.

The nonprofit plans on expanding the number of cars in its fleet to at least 100 and expanding the number of docking locations as part of the new plan, Zeller said. It is also planning to allow members to pick up and drop off vehicles in different locations, though it hasn’t worked out the exact logistics.

Xcel Energy has pledged to help to fund the planning process, Zeller said.

In a news release, Hourcar CEO Paul Schroeder said the transition to an all-electric fleet aligns with the nonprofit’s commitment to providing affordable, accessible and sustainable transportation choices.

“The Twin Cities is our home, and we want to help keep it clean and livable by doing our part to reduce emissions and congestion,” he said.

Schroeder added in the release that Hourcar aims to create electric vehicle access in low-income communities while also increasing access to flexible and affordable transportation choices.

Xcel Energy-Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota President Chris Clark said in the release that his company is embracing a future that includes more electric vehicles on the road.

“Partnering with HOURCAR helps ensure that this future benefits all customers, the environment, and the electric grid we all rely upon,” he said.