Does Zipcar have electric vehicles in its fleet?

Beginning in October 2022, Zipcar has begun to introduce electric vehicles into limited markets as part of an electrification pilot. For a limited time, only selected members will have access to Kia Niro EVs as we collect feedback to help us successfully rollout more EVs across our cities.

Our EV Pilot is invite only. We look forward to inviting all our members to enjoy EVs in 2023.


Searching & booking

  • Only invited and selected members have access to the EV Pilot fleet in the first phase. We look forward to inviting more members to access our EV fleet next year.
  • You can search by location or by the make/model of the car by typing in "Kia Niro - EV Pilot."
    Just look for a lightning bolt Screen_Shot_2022-10-21_at_12.23.14_PM.png next to the car for easy identification.
  • You’ll see the car’s charging level in the search screen. Note that it may change if the car is used before your reservation.

Starting your trip

  • Lock and unlock your EV Zipcar the same way you would any of our other vehicles. We recommend enabling Bluetooth and enabling locations access for the best, most reliable experience.
  • Make sure you start your trip and unlock the car in the app before you unplug the charging cable. You won’t be able to unplug the charging cable until you start your trip and unlock the car in the app.
  • To unplug the charging cable, press the button on the top while holding the cable, and remove it and return it to the charging station. Close the cover.
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  • Before you start driving, turn on the car and check your charge level. The dashboard will show you how many miles you have left before your trip ends or you find another charging station.

Driving

  • Our EVs are push-to-start and make little to no noise when the car turns on which may feel different from other cars you’re used to.
  • Instead of a standard gear shift lever, our EV cars have a dial – just turn them to the gear you want while pressing the brake.
  • The Kia Niro has an average range of 240 miles, but driving over 60 mph or cold weather can drastically reduce battery performance. The car will give you updated range information as you drive, which you will see on the dashboard or through the infotainment system if you hit the EV button on the center console.
  • Braking with the EV may feel different than our non-EV cars. There are paddles on the Kia Niro’s steering wheel which control the sensitivity of the brakes. We suggest starting on the LOW setting, which is the default, unless the previous driver has changed it. If you feel the car is braking quickly, check to see if the “regenerative breaking” feature is on HIGH and switch it to LOW.

Charging

General Charging Information

  • To charge your car, place the shifter dial in P (Park),and turn off the vehicle. Make sure your car is unlocked. Push the small door at the front of the vehicle, remove the covers, and insert the charging cable to charge the car.
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  • Look for the green charging lights and red plug icon in the dashboard to confirm your car is being charged
    Screen_Shot_2022-10-21_at_2.45.14_PM.png   Digital-3759.jpg
  • Please note that some charging stations will require you to hit “start” on the charging station to start charging.
  • If the car is unlocked and you’re in reservation but having a hard time removing the charging cable, try opening the door and pressing the door unlock button. This should release the charging cable.
  • All EVs come with a charge card in the driver’s side visor for charging (similar to the gas card in our non-EV cars). Use SemaConnect or Chargepoint stations for the easiest experience with our charging cards. Some home location charging stations may require use of a charge card. Check your reservation details in the app for instructions on how to charge the car.
  • The car can charge to 80% in about one hour on average, but since all chargers are different, speed to charge may vary.

Mid-Trip Charging

  • We suggest you check the dashboard for charge level during your trip. If you need to refuel, follow the instructions above. For help finding charging stations along your trip, we recommend downloading the plugshare app.
  • If you’re using a Chargepoint station mid-trip and the car’s charge card won’t work, download the Chargepoint app (for this and future trips) and submit your receipts for reimbursement.
  • Please note that if you end your trip or lock your car, you will not be able to unlock the charge door to plug in the charger. Make sure you’re in reservation and your car is unlocked.

Home Location Charging

  • Some home charging locations may require you to swipe the charge card to charge the vehicle, while others may not. Check your reservation details in the app for instructions on how to charge the car.
  • Please note that if you end your trip or lock your car, you will not be able to unlock the charge door to plug in the charger. Make sure you’re in reservation and your car is unlocked.
  • Once you insert the cable, the car will lock it in place. It can’t be removed again until the car is unlocked. You’ll see visual confirmation from the car when it begins charging. Just look for a green light under the windshield outside the car or a green icon on the console.

Ending your trip

  • When your trip is finished, return your car to the home location and plug the charger in, following the instructions above under “Charging” (make sure you do this BEFORE ending your trip and locking the car).
  • If your reservation has ended before you could plug your car in, please call member services at 866-4ZIPCAR for assistance.
  • After you’ve confirmed it’s charging by looking for the GREEN battery, and RED plug icons on the dashboard, end your trip in the app as you would any other reservation.
  • Please remember that all standard Zipcar rules apply for EV trips. Please make sure to plug the vehicle in so it starts charging at the end of your trip (per above instructions). There’s no minimum charge level expected at the end of your trip, but please try to think about the next member’s experience. Remember to also take your belongings with you.

FAQs

If I run out of charge during my trip, can I still unlock (or lock) the car?
Yes! The battery that powers the lock system is separate from the battery that powers the drivetrain. Just make sure to take your stuff with you and lock the car before you leave.

Will I be reimbursed for any out-of-pocket charging expenses during my trip?
If for any reason you have to pay out-of-pocket to recharge your EV during your trip, we’ll be sure to reimburse you. Instructions can be found here.

What if the EV has little or no charge at the beginning of my trip?
If your EV has a low battery at the start of your reservation, call us at 866-4ZIPCAR so we can move you to another car.

What if I completely run out of charge during my trip?
Please avoid driving the car until the battery is completely empty. If this happens, you could get stuck and we’ll have to send roadside assistance to tow the car back to its home location (and you’ll be charged for the towing).

Can I jump start my EV's battery?
Never jump-start an EV. This can damage the car’s electronics and is also a violation of the member agreement (you could be charged or have your account suspended/closed).

Why does my EV  have a warning on the dashboard that something is draining the 12v battery?
When the car is left uncharged, this warning may appear on the dashboard. Don’t’ worry, this isn’t a problem. Just plug in the charging cable as soon as you can to get rid of the warning and check the charge level and miles you have left to make sure you have enough for your trip.


Surveys & rewards for participating drivers

If you’re part of the pilot, you’ll receive a survey after every trip. You’ll get a $10 e-gift card for completing the first survey.. After that, for each survey you complete, you’ll be entered into a raffle, where you’ll have a chance to win a $50 gift card to a brand of your choice. . You’ll get one or two raffle entries depending on how many questions you answer, and you can only complete one survey per reservation.

Raffle drawings will happen every other Monday, starting November 7, 2022. The winner will get a $50 e-gift card of their choice (Amazon, Apple, Walmart, or Starbucks). And new raffle pools start every two weeks.

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