Communauto takes the leap towards one-way 100% electric carsharing

Montreal, May 10th, 2013 – Today, Communauto and the Plateau–Mont-Royal, a central and densely populated borough in Montreal, announced the launch of a pilot project introducing a one-way carsharing fleet of some twenty 100% electric vehicles starting mid-June. The goal of the project is to evaluate the benefits and impacts of such a service.

This research will be led by the Montreal Polytechnique Mobilité Chair researchers and relies on the collaboration of Taxi Diamond, with whom it will be possible to compare the behavioural effects of the service on users.

“Communauto is convinced that a considerable amount of data on the impact and benefits of a one-way carsharing system is still unknown. The Auto-mobile project aims to clarify these uncertainties and to contribute positively to the public consultation announced by the City of Montreal on the subject. We will share the results with the other stakeholders involved, such as the taxi industry and the transit organisations. Choosing 100% electric vehicles also brings a certain relevance to the project,” said Mr. Benoît Robert, president and CEO of Communauto.

Mr. Luc Ferrandez, mayor of the Plateau–Mont-Royal borough, took this opportunity to announce two measures designed to encourage carsharing, an already prevalent practice in the borough.

The first measure is the creation of 150 new on-street parking spaces reserved to Communauto vehicles by the end of 2014, half of which for this year. These spaces will allow Plateau residents to have access to more Communauto vehicles. Thus increasing the convenience of the carsharing service, whose benefits are important in an area like the Plateau. (Presently, Communauto has 17 reserved on-street spaces on the Plateau and annually pays $1035 plus tax per space. Similar pricing is intended for the new spaces.)

The second measure is the creation of a universal parking permit allowing carsharing users to park the shared vehicles in residents-only reserved zones (SRRR). “Remember that the borough has significantly increased the number of SRRR spaces in the busiest areas,” said Mr. Ferrandez. “In addition, carsharing users have no incentive to leave the vehicles in their possession stationary for extended periods of time.”

As it is already the case for commercial and delivery vehicles, carsharing vehicles without a universal parking permit will continue to take advantage of the right to be parked in SRRR areas for up to 60 minutes.

“For the electric vehicle as well for the shared car, all components of the solution have been put in place. The time has come to take a great leap forward. It is only fitting that it’s happening on the Plateau,” said M. Ferrandez.

Auto-mobile: how does it work?

Starting mid-June, interested individuals and Communauto subscribers will be able to subscribe online to use this new service.

The registrants will be able to find the closest car using their Smartphone or the Internet. Once the vehicle has been identified, they will be able to block it for a few minutes in order to reach it, then use it immediately to make their way from point A to point B. The vehicles will be accessible with an OPUS card, the public transportation card, whose number will have to be registered with Auto-mobile. Once arrived at destination, they will simply have to park the vehicle on the street within the Plateau–Mont-Royal boundaries paying close attention to city regulation, then release it.

Parking will be allowed on all unregulated curbside zones and the borough will allow parking in residents-only zones during the pilot project. The users should not park the vehicles in zones where sweeping operations will take place, nor in metered spaces or private parking lots.

The Auto-mobile subscription will be free during the pilot project. The rate will be of $0.38/minute, $12/hour and $50/day. The electric vehicles will be periodically charged by a Communauto team in order to always ensure good vehicle availability and numerous trips per charge.