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Car-sharing app Zipcar is bringing 300 electric cars to London

Zipcar has teamed up with Volkswagen to give its car-sharing service an eco-friendly edge - and encouraging many of its 200,000 members to drive electric vehicles for the first time

Car-share network Zipcar has announced it will introduce a fleet of 100 electric cars in London this summer.

Zipcar says the number of Volkswagen e-Golfs available through its app will grow to 325 by the end of the year – creating what is believed to be the UK’s largest network of publicly available shared electric cars.

The car-sharing service allows users to rent cars by the minute, accessing them through the Zipcar app and dropping the vehicles off anywhere in the city.

Details on costs and how the electric car-share scheme will work will be revealed by Zipcar when the programme is launched in July.

‘Cleanest possible vehicles’ for Zipcar

General manager of Zipcar UK general manager Jonathan Hampson said: “If we are to achieve healthier, cleaner streets, as set out in the Mayor of London’s latest Transport Strategy, this change away from car ownership and towards car access is essential.

“In encouraging this change we have always wanted to use the cleanest possible vehicle, which is why we’re incredibly proud and excited to team up with Volkswagen for this zero emissions initiative.

“It marks another step towards our vision for a greener London where car sharers outnumber car owners, making our amazing city an even better place to live for all.”

Zipcar already runs car-shares at Heathrow Terminal 5 and nine London boroughs, including Islington, Wandsworth and Tower Hamlets.

It is also available in Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol and more than 50 other European cities, with about 200,000 members signed up.

Billed as a hassle-free alternative to conventional car hire, users can find their nearest Zipcar vehicle, reserve and unlock it using the app.

Once a journey has been completed, the driver can drop it off in any designated car club bay for the Zipcar Roundtrip service or in any legal parking space within the Zipzone for a Zipcar Flex user.

Fees start at £3 per hour and £33 per day to use a car, with other price plans available for higher spec cars and vans.

The new 100% electric cars will be made available as part of the Zipcar Flex service.

First-time electric car drivers

This zero-emissions initiative comes at a key time for London, with congestion and pollution levels at an all-time high.

By making electric driving more widely accessible and available to Londoners, Zipcar hopes the introduction of more than 300 shared electric vehicles (EVs) will help break down current barriers to greater EV adoption and take electric driving from niche to mainstream in the capital.

Volkswagen UK managing director Alison Jones added: “This is an exciting step for Volkswagen.

“Thousands of Zipcar members will experience electric driving, perhaps for the first time, and we know they will love the functionality and ease of use that the all-electric e-Golf provides.

“Inner-city residents are looking for alternatives to car ownership and this development of the relationship between Volkswagen and Zipcar offers the best of both worlds – on-demand driving and zero emission motoring across the UK’s capital.”

Zipcar is not the only car sharing service operating in London.

Companies like DriveNow and Ubeeqo provide similar services to the capital, including access to electric cars.