Residents of these Sacramento apartment complexes can now rent electric cars by the minute
Starting this week, residents of 10 Sacramento apartment complexes can rent on-site electric vehicles by the minute through Envoy, an electric car-sharing startup from Los Angeles.
By next month, 142 of Envoy’s shiny white Volkswagen E-Golfs will be stationed at 71 apartment complexes throughout the City. Three quarters of the complexes are designated as low income.
Tenants will be able to rent the vehicles — each complex will have two — for 15 cents a minute, or $9 per hour, to run errands or even to participate in the gig economy.
“People from the neighborhoods in Sacramento are going to have more ways — clean, green ways — to get around,” Mayor Steinberg said at a press conference Thursday announcing Envoy’s arrival.
“Everyone should be able to participate in the green revolution,” he added.
The press conference was held at the Whispering Pines apartment complex in Meadowview. Carol Ornelas, CEO of Visionary Homebuilders, which owns the complex, said the cars will benefit the residents, all of whom receive federal Section 8 housing vouchers.
“This is going to be an opportunity for economic development,” she said. “They could use the car to drive for Uber or Lyft.”
Drivers are not required to carry their own insurance, since coverage is provided by Envoy. Electricity for charging is also included in the rental price.
The cars plug into chargers on-site. They will sport digital license plates from Reviver Auto that allow the registrations to be renewed automatically and eventually may be used for marketing and public service announcements.
“You’re providing emerging technology to people who have traditionally been the last adopters; that’s very cool,” said Mike Becker, Envoy’s National Sales Director.
The Envoy cars are part of the $44 million Sac to Zero initiative being funded by Electrify America, the Volkswagen subsidiary created to promote zero emission vehicles following the company’s diesel emissions scandal. Read more about Sac to Zero, formerly called Green City, here. Sac to Zero will include 260 short-term electric rental cars that will be brought to Sacramento streets next year by GIG, a subsidiary of AAA. Also coming are 10 high-speed charging depots and electric shuttles to UC Davis and the Franklin Boulevard corridor.
Envoy is working with property owners around the country to equip both market rate and affordable apartment complexes, workplaces and hotels with electric vehicles. In addition to the Electrify America initiative, it is also using a grant from the California Energy Commission to station an additional 30 cars at 15 economically disadvantaged communities in Sacramento, and 30 cars in San Francisco.
Aric Ohana, founder and principal of Envoy, said Thursday the company expects to offer its service at The Sawyer Hotel in downtown Sacramento as well.
“Sacramento will serve as the blueprint for how to electrify and launch shared mobility,” he said.
This map shows the apartment complexes that have signed on so far to host Envoy vehicles.