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November 14, 2012

Electric Vehicles Get the Vote in New York City

Electric car symbol croppedIn the wake of Hurricane Sandy's tragic devastation, a recent New York Times blog post showed that many electric vehicle drivers in the New York/New Jersey area are finding it easier to fuel their vehicles than those who rely on gasoline.

Long before the storm, the folks at Hertz on Demand decided to add new electric vehicles in New York City, and you, the consumer, get to decide where people can rent them. The campaign, put forth by Mission Electric, is a unique idea for plug-in car sharing, which is gradually growing in American cities. 

The idea is simple: Over the next two weeks, people can vote for a New York City location that will later house an EV for car sharing. The three locations that receive the top votes will get EVs that will then be available for rent by the hour. Mission Electric, a non-profit that has partnered with the mayoral offices of New York, Philadelphia, and Boston, is funded by a grant from the Department of Energy's Clean Cities program. With this car-sharing voting drive, Mission Electric is putting democracy to work.

"For those who need to drive in New York City, shared vehicles are a great option -- and electric shared vehicles are even better," Sergej Mahnovski, director of the city's Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability, said in a statement. "The flexibility of car share and the emissions benefits of electric vehicles reduce the benzene and other pollutants in our air, and make New York a healthier, greater city."

Clearly, walking, biking, and public transit are the best ways to get around in urban settings. However, for those who need a car from time to time, electric-car sharing is gaining momentum. Late last year, Car2Go launched an all-electric program in San Diego, the first of its kind. And this past summer in the San Francisco Bay Area, BMW launched DriveNow, a service that lets people drive its electric Active-e

For people seeking affordable ways to get off oil, or get by without the expenses of car ownership – younger people are increasingly choosing this route -- car sharing is proving to be an attractive option. Car sharing with plug-ins is also effective in spreading the word out about EVs. Marc Gellar, a San Francisco-based Sierra Club and Plug In America member who shares his Rav4 EV, said it best: "One reason why I rent out my car is purely propagandistic. I want people to have the opportunity to drive it and come to understand how it can meet their needs."

Learn more about EV facts and myths.

-- Brian Foley

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