You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Sat, Aug 8, 2009 : 10 a.m.

Two more hybrid Zipcars coming to Ann Arbor, University of Michigan

By Tina Reed

The University of Michigan is set to get two additional hybrid cars later this month through the auto-sharing program Zipcar.

The cars will be Honda Insight Hybrids and will be set up in reserved spots at the Glen Avenue Parking Structure near Catherine Street.

The cars are expected to be operational by Aug. 19, bringing the size of the downtown and campus fleets to 18 vehicles, said Grant Winston, associate director of U-M parking and transportation services.

Zipcar is an auto-share company with programs across the country allowing participants to pay a fee to use the cars on an hourly or daily basis. Most of the Ann Arbor cars are now available for about $8 an hour or about $60 a day.

The program provides cars, with gas and insurance included, in central locations with free parking.

University of Michigan got its first Zipcars in 2006. It had more than 1,324 registered members at the end of July and was reaching a usage rate that was too high near the end of spring semester, Winston said. The optimal use of the cars is about 45 percent to ensure users can find the car they want most of the time, he said.

When Zipcar representatives were in town in March, Winston said some residents made it clear to the company there was a strong interest in getting Zipcar vehicles made by automakers based in Michigan. U-M also requested a better balance for the fleet, Winston said.

Of U-M's 13 Zipcars, three are Ford Escapes, said John Williams, a spokesman for Zipcar.

The company chooses its cars on a variety of factors, he said, including what users of the system are requesting. It also includes cars that produce fewer carbon emissions and hold their value.

Its fleet changes with what is new in the auto industry and the company would continue to consider future models of vehicles from Michigan-based automakers with the planned production of hybrid models in the future, Williams said.



Sun, Aug 9, 2009 : 8:19 a.m.

yep zip cars are fantastic. They really should expand more in the city besides only on U of M property.

Bryan Magnuson

Sat, Aug 8, 2009 : 4:44 p.m.

On the subject of better balance in the fleet, and Michigan based car companies, the Saturn VUE gets better highway milage than the Ford Escape. Does anyone know what percent of the time Zipcars are used in town vs. on the highway? I would guess that if college students are using Zipcars, they are not using them in town since they typically walk or use the buses, but are using them for longer mostly highway trips.

Kyle Mulka

Sat, Aug 8, 2009 : 10:17 a.m.

I'm really glad that downtown Ann Arbor has Zipcars now. There are two of them just a few blocks from where I live. These are great for students who don't have cars on campus but could really benefit from one every once in a while.


Sat, Aug 8, 2009 : 9:23 a.m.

I have used ZipCars and they are great! When I signed up as a UM employee, I got my annual fee credited to my account for use on car rental. Don't know if that is still the case, but UM gets a discounted annual fee and doesn't pay a registration fee. When using it for the first time, remember that the gas card is in the visor, your zip car card doesn't work at the pump.