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St. Paul, Minneapolis officially launch all-electric car-sharing network

The Evie Carshare network has 171 vehicles parked at 70 car-charging stations dubbed “EV Spots,” which can be accessed through a series of monthly plans tailored to daily, long-distance, student, low-income or occasional users.

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A Chevrolet Bolt is pictured at an EV Spot charging station in St. Paul. The cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis launched the EV Spot Network in February. EV Spot is a system of renewably powered on-street stations that can be used to charge private electric vehicles as well as the new Evie Carshare vehicles.
Courtesy / Sam Holt via St. Paul Pioneer Press
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ST. PAUL -- The cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis have officially launched an all-electric car-sharing network hand in hand with the nonprofit HourCar, which will oversee operations.

The Evie Carshare network has 171 vehicles parked at 70 car-charging stations dubbed “EV Spots,” which can be accessed through a series of monthly plans tailored to daily, long-distance, student, low-income or occasional users.

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter noted that Evie will be the first municipally-owned car-sharing network in the country that relies completely on 100%-renewable energy. Carter’s office took the lead in organizing the network as part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ “American Cities Climate Challenge.”

The hope is to cut carbon emissions by convincing more residents to give up the family car and rely on walking, biking or public transit options, knowing they’ll still have car access when needed.

Carter joined Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, U.S. Sen. Tina Smith and other officials at the downtown St. Paul Union Depot on Friday to unveil the $12.75 million network, which received heavy financial support from both cities, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Energy, Xcel Energy and the Metropolitan Council.

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The overwhelming majority of the car-sharing stations are located in or near communities of color and along transit routes, the officials noted. That includes 10 neighborhoods that were not previously served by car-sharing.

The 70 EV Spots will include charging spaces split between Evie and personal vehicles, as well as fast charging at 12 locations, most of them near highway exits to accommodate longer trips.

Smith said that given the growing impacts of climate change on the environment, the economy and everyday life, climate action was overdue. “This project is building out the infrastructure of a clean and green economy,” she said. “The reality is we are in the midst of a climate crisis that is threatening our economy…our way of living.”

Added Frey, “We’re going to be expanding the number of charging stations, the number of vehicles in the fleet, because to be honest we don’t really have an option right now.”

More information is online at EVSpotNetwork.org.

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