Chattanooga will be one of the first cities in the nation with an electric vehicle ride share program, officials said Thursday.
Gustave Occhiuzzo, CEO of GreenCommute, said the firm is extending the environmentally-friendly program from Los Angeles, where it was launched.
When the program is launched soon, Chattanoogans will be able to rent a zero-emission, all-electric car by the hour or day for $9 per hour.
Users will be able to utilize GreenCommute's ap to find a nearby rental electric car, use a Smartphone to unlock it and start the engine (no key is involved).
GreenCommute officials said, "Electricity, maintenance and insurance are all on us. It's your hustle without the hassle."
Mr. Occhiuzzo said the firm will start out with two Chattanooga employees operating out of CARTA offices at Shuttle Park South by the Chattanooga Choo Choo.
There will also be a program, working in conjunction with TVA, for van pooling using the rented electric cars. He said the same cars will be available for other users at hours not used for the van pool. He said it will be for some existing van pools and for new ones.
The fleet of Nissan Leafs will be acquired from a local dealer, he said.
GreenCommute is also using a local towing firm as well as "car jockey" to help keep the fleet going.
The firm is working with universities like Southern Adventist College and UTC and agencies such as the Bethlehem Center in Alton Park.
The vehicles will be able to go well over 200 miles without a recharge.
Steve Jett, CARTA chairman, said CARTA earlier launched its electric shuttle and "this could ultimately have the same impact. I have every confidence that it will work. I think it is going to go really well."
The Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA), in partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the Electric Power Board (EPB),announced the agreement with Green Commuter which officials said "will create a new transportation alternative through an electric vehicle car-sharing system in Chattanooga, Tenn."
“The agreement with Green Commuter is important because it allows CARTA to enhance public transportation options with the introduction of an electric vehicle car-sharing system to benefit all Chattanoogans,” said Brent Matthews, CARTA director of Parking.
With the completion of the first phase of this project, Chattanooga now has approximately 20 electric vehicle charging locations. In addition new solar power generation facilities are under construction which will be integrated into the EPB power grid.
“We are excited to work with EPB, CARTA, and Green Commuter to bring solar-assisted electric charging stations and electric vehicle car sharing to Chattanooga,” said Cindy Herron, TVA vice president of EnergyRight Solutions. “Electric vehicles and solar-assisted vehicle charging maximizes the benefits of clean energy, reduces emissions and encourages solar power and electric transportation in Chattanooga.”
Through the expansion of charging stations, the installation of renewable solar power generation, and the use of plug-in electric vehicles, Chattanooga is well positioned to adopt clean energy technologies to reduce vehicle emissions on a sustained basis.
“EPB is proud to support our community partners to enhance the value of next-generation mobility for residents and visitors to Chattanooga,” said EPB president David Wade. “By leveraging the assets provided by CARTA, TVA, Green Commuter and the City’s smart grid, Chattanooga will continue to be a leader in innovation and environmental stewardship through affordable, clean transportation and renewable energy solutions.”
“Chattanoogans should be proud of this agreement because we are the first medium-size city in the nation to implement an electric vehicle car-sharing system to reduce emissions and traffic congestion, said Mr. Matthews. “In addition, data from this project will be shared with other communities to support similar electric vehicle implementations across the Tennessee Valley.”
When the electric vehicle car-sharing system is fully operational it will achieve significant reduction of air pollution and traffic congestion and improve Chattanoogans’ quality of life by offering safe, affordable and environmentally-friendly public transportation.
The Green Commuter car sharing system, electric vehicle, and charging unit will be on display to the public at the Riverbend Festival on Friday, June 17, and Saturday, June 18. Please visit the EPB/TVA booth for a hands-on demonstration of the system. To learn more and register for additional information, please visit www.greencommuter.org/locations