It’s good to see the first car-share program in Toronto begin to embrace plug-in vehicles. CarShare, which has about 10,000 members, is part of the Toronto Atmospheric Fund’s EV300 Initiative and announced yesterday that it will be introducing a half dozen plug-in vehicles — full electric, extended range and plug-in hybrid — to its citywide fleet. The first location is downtown at Mountain Equipment Co-Op’s King St. and Spadina Ave. store. This location makes sense, given the progressive and eco-aware nature of MEC’s customers. Members of AutoShare will get a chance to reserve the Mitsubishi i-Miev that will be based at the charging spot, giving Torontonians an easy way to test drive plug-in vehicles and get a feel for their performance. I’ve always thought that car-share programs and even car rental agencies are the best avenue through which electric vehicles can be introduced to the broader public, who may be curious about these vehicles but really have no other way to get a feel for the technology. As AutoShare president Kevin McLaughlin said, “This is the first step in letting Torontonians experience the future of the personal mobility.”
I use ZipCar myself, only because it has more convenient pick-up locations in my neighbourhood, but am a big fan of AutoShare and am eager to join up when the opportunity presents itself. I don’t know if ZipCar has plans to introduce plug-in vehicles to its fleet, but I hope it does — in fact, if it doesn’t, it could be the one thing that gets me to jump ship to AutoShare (or simply be members of both services).