Mayor Annise D. Parker announced today a new partnership with Zipcar, Inc., the world’s leading car sharing network, to launch a new municipal electric vehicle (EV) green fleet sharing program, called Houston Fleet Share.  Through this program, 50 city-owned fleet vehicles – including 25 Nissan Leaf EVs and other plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles – will be outfitted with Zipcar’s proprietary car sharing technology for use by city employees across numerous departments.

This program is the first of its kind to utilize electric vehicles. Funded by the State Energy Conservation Office American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (SECO-ARRA) Transportation Program (SEP), the program is designed to help the City of Houston improve efficiency, promote sustainability and save money – all without sacrificing employee mobility.

“Houston is setting the pace for sustainability efforts, and we are very proud to be working with Zipcar to launch the nation’s first-ever municipal EV green fleet sharing program,” said Mayor Annise Parker. “Although we’ve always been known as the oil capital of the world, we’re gaining momentum on being the energy capital through programs like Houston Fleet Share and the Houston Drives Electric initiative.”

The City of Houston currently has the third largest municipal hybrid fleet in the country, with approximately 50 percent of the City’s nonspecialty, light-duty fleet having been replaced with hybrid vehicles (over 800 vehicles). By deploying Zipcar’s car sharing platform, as well as implementing Zipcar’s self-service online reservation and secure vehicle access system, the program will help the City gain new efficiencies and reduce costs, while further reducing the environmental impacts of their fleet.

“By utilizing Zipcar’s technology to make our fleet usage more efficient, we will be able to further reduce emissions and cut back on fleet fuel consumption, helping save money while also having a positive impact on our environment,” continued Mayor Parker.

The City of Houston selected Zipcar as its fleet technology provider through a competitive bidding process. The term of the contract is three years, with the option for extension. Currently, there are 300 drivers and 13 City departments enrolled in the program. As more cars are added to the shared motor pools, the number of drivers will be increased.

The City of Houston now will be able to design and configure its fleet footprint in real time for optimal utilization; manage hundreds of critical activities including preventive maintenance, fueling, billing, and fleet distribution; analyze usage and diagnostic data, automatically captured during every trip; and utilize Zipcar’s robust, experience-driven analytics to stay on top of trends, ahead of situations and in control of its fleet.

“I would like to applaud Mayor Parker and the City of Houston for all the work they have done to make the city’s municipal fleet one of the most sustainable in the country through their dedication to EVs and hybrid vehicles.  We’re excited to help make this program even more efficient with the addition of Zipcar technology into these vehicles,” said Scott Griffith, Zipcar chairman and CEO.

The program will eventually include additional locations and charging stations throughout the City, provide a larger variety of vehicle types and will reduce the number of vehicles that are not used or rarely used as a way of right sizing the fleet.