An impressive example of private-sector/nonprofit collaboration is unfolding in Hacienda this month. City CarShare is partnering with Toyota Motor North America to station more than two dozen specially developed electric cars at various locations in and near the park. The cars will be available for use 24/7 by Hacienda employees, residents, and guests who enroll in the City CarShare program.
The vehicles are the Toyota Scion iQ-EV, designed specifically for car-sharing programs in urban and campus environments. The battery electric four-seaters consume no gasoline and produce no tailpipe emissions, making them especially attractive to green commuters.
While the model may look familiar, the Scion iQ-EV is not a production car.
"There are only 100 of these vehicles in the world," says Mike Harrigan, City CarShare's Electric Vehicle Program Manager. The Hacienda deployment is part of a three-year pilot program Toyota is undertaking. Of the 100 existing cars, 30 each will be delivered to three locations along the West Coast: in southern California, Hacienda, and Portland, Ore.
While the Hacienda venue represents a departure for the nonprofit City CarShare, which until now has had an urban focus, its selection as a pilot location was a very deliberate decision.
"We worked with Toyota and the Transportation Sustainability Research Center at UC Berkeley to identify potential locations for the pilot," Harrigan relates. Of the handful of contenders, Hacienda won out for several reasons, not the least of which is the large number - roughly 18 percent-of employees who arrive daily via public transit or van- or carpools. These commuters might need a car during the day to get to a nearby business appointment, for personal errands, or even to get out for lunch, the reasoning went.
Hacienda also has geography in its favor. In addition to its proximity to BART, it is close to desirable destinations that are well within the 40-mile-per-charge range of the iQ-EVs. "These cars are not designed to take people long distances," says Harrigan, adding, "Plus, Hacienda really wanted to work with us. There was a high level of commitment to the program."
The rapid progression of the pilot is testimony to its popularity. Toyota approached City CarShare with the proposal to donate the use of 30 iQ-EVs in January. A car carrier loaded with vehicles arrived in Hacienda on July 15. The first batch - probably four of them, in two separate locations - will be ready for a soft launch on August 1st. Each car will be parked in a designated spot equipped with an electric vehicle charging station. New Hacienda tenant Schneider Electric is also participating in the initiative, providing the hardware for all the charging stations at no cost.
Pleasanton officials will join City CarShare and Hacienda representatives at a formal kick-off on Tuesday, August 13th. The festive event, to be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Schneider Electric, 5735 West Las Positas Ave., will include a detailed introduction of the program, along with special sign-up discounts and a crowd-pleasing food truck. Harrigan encourages the park community to attend.
"This is our first off-network business park campus location," he comments. "The hub approach, which essentially gives Hacienda its own mini-fleet of City CarShare vehicles, is a new business model for us. We are really excited to have this opportunity to see how it works out." For more information, visit CityCarShare.org .
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