There are a few EV industry stakeholders who think car sharing plays an important role in winning over consumers to become interested in, and passionate about, plug-in electric vehicles. While car sharing is slow to grow in the US, it is slowly disseminating on college campuses (much of this through Zipcar) and in urban dwelling. Daimler’s car2go division is opening up with EVs in five markets in the US, starting with San Diego. Now, the company has gone to Portland, Oregon. It’s really taking off in Portland, which is not surprising, since it was the home of some of the earliest adopters years ago, and a community that prides itself on embracing green initiatives. So far, there are 6,000 new members in that city who’ve used the service more than 4,500 times. Short trips are what the cars are being used for, typically lasting between 30 and 45 minutes. Drivers are behind the wheel of electric smart fortwo cars and the regular internal combustion engine smart fortwo.
For consumers impressed with corporations taking on environmental sustainability practices, Toyota is standing out – joining Honda, Nissan, GM, Ford, and BMW in green initiative programs. Eight Toyota manufacturing sites in North America have reduced their energy intensity by 10% or more (sometimes up to 24%), meeting the standards of the EPA’s Energy Star Challenge for Industry. Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Huntsville, Ala., installed Ultra Constant Discharge lighting in the plant’s parking lot, cutting its energy intensity by 24%. Toyota facilities in Jackson, Tenn.; Cambridge and Woodstock, Ontario; Princeton, Ind.; St. Louis, Mo.; San Antonio, Texas; and Buffalo, West Virginia, have seen several energy efficiencies implemented recently.