The Twin Cities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis are developing the Electric Vehicle Mobility Network (TCEVMN) – a network of 70 electric vehicle charging hubs and electric vehicle car-sharing service. The project has been awarded $6.7 million by the U.S Department of Energy (DOE) as part of its Advanced Innovative Vehicle Technologies program. It is scheduled to launch in 2021 and reach full scale by mid-2022.
“Developing more mobility options continues to be a priority in Minneapolis,” said Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. “Amid the challenges our cities face, it’s critical that private and public partners maintain their commitment to sustainability and combating the climate crisis. In this case, EV carshare and public charging powered by renewable energy are perfectly aligned with our overall goals, including achieving 100% renewable electricity by 2030.”
Working with HOURCAR, a local car-sharing nonprofit, the new car-sharing service will enable users to pick up a car, drive it, and then park it on the street anywhere within the service area – or at one of the charging hubs. When necessary, HOURCAR will move vehicles to ensure they are charged as well as distributed throughout the service area. Users must first apply for an HOURCAR paid membership to verify their eligibility. Details are still being worked out, but it is expected that the users will be charged by the minute, but not for charging or parking.
The cities are working with Xcel Energy to install the charging hubs on public roadways throughout the cities. They will be available for users of the shared electric vehicles, as well as for members of the public to charge privately-owned electric vehicles. The project recently received additional funding from the Department of Energy for a few “fast chargers,” which operate at triple the speed.
The service area is designed to overlap with the least wealthy parts of both cities, where a high percentage of people don’t own cars or often rely on public transit. The DOE award will also be used to support community engagement and outreach to inform residents of the benefits of electric vehicles and how car-sharing works – as well as address any obstacles community members may face in using this service.
“Addressing our climate crisis through clean energy solutions while improving our community’s connectivity is more vital than ever,” said Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter. “In the face of this enduring public health and economic crisis, this collaboration will support a sustainable and resilient future for our children and grandchildren.”