Charging ahead into an eco-happy future, Mayor Annise Parker is touting a city-owned fleet of electric and hybrid vehicles that just got a tech upgrade — and a green boost.
In partnership with Zipcar, 50 cars will be outfitted with technology to launch a new municipal drive sharing program. The Houston Fleet Share initiative, which comprises 25 Nissan Leafs and other plug-and-drive and hybrid vehicles, is a low-cost transportation management system that also reduces the City of Houston's operational carbon footprint.
The Zipcar network helps organize car maintenance, fueling, billing and availability, and provides information to better keep city employees mobile. No longer is that a manual administrative job.
"Houston is setting the pace for sustainability efforts, and we are very proud to be working with Zipcar to launch the nation's first-ever municipal EV green fleet sharing program."
"Houston is setting the pace for sustainability efforts, and we are very proud to be working with Zipcar to launch the nation's first-ever municipal EV green fleet sharing program," Parker said in a statement. "Although we've always been known as the oil capital of the world, we're gaining momentum on being the energy capital through programs like Houston Fleet Share and the Houston Drives Electric initiative."
Cash for the sharing technology comes from the State Energy Conservation Office American Recovery Reinvestment Act Transportation Program. The Houston Fleet Share will accommodate 300 drivers across 13 different city departments, and as more cars are added to that fleet, more drivers will have access to this mode of transportation.
The program is aligned with other City of Houston ventures that aim to lessen the environmental impact and promote green living, among them the Houston B-Cycle program, buildings rigged with wind turbines and the use of LED lights at nearly 2,500 intersections — making Houston the largest consumer of green energy among major cities in the United States.