Common Tragedies

Thoughts on Environmental Economics

CT determines the future

Posted by Evan Herrnstadt on February 19, 2009

A few months ago, Rich wrote about how awesome it would be if Zipcar converted to PHEV’s.  Well, they’re at least dipping their toe in the water.  They are partnering with the city of San Francisco to establish a pilot program in which Prius PHEV’s would be available.  Currently, it’s unclear whether more than the single car used at the press conference is available or the eventual size, but it’s a great step nonetheless.  Zipcar ran a similar program with original Prius HEV’s in Seattle.

To reiterate some of Rich’s discussion, this is ideal because it exposes people to PHEV’s.  Unfamiliar things are strange and scary, so using a PHEV is a great way to show consumers that they are not really much different from a normal auto.  It is also a good way to deploy them without building large amounts of infrastructure, since Zipcars are parked in a limited number of spots around a city.

However, there is the issue that people currently using Zipcars are already likely to favor PHEV’s:

In a member survey last month, more than 80 percent of the respondents voiced support for the addition of electric vehicles (EVs), plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and alternative fuel vehicles to the fleet.

Still, other drivers will be exposed to PHEV’s, especially if there is some sort of prominent label advertising their special attributes.  At any rate, this is definitely an exciting development, although it’s worth mentioning that cars powered by our current dirty mix of electricity generation are not much better than those powered by petrol.

H/T: Green Car Congress.

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