Increasing access to electric cars and charging is a crucial step for fostering the adoption of EVs nationwide, especially among lower-income and elderly. Now, a new ride-sharing program is making electric vehicles available at locations across the country, and delivering a greener way to get around town.
The affordable mobility platform, or AMP, is a national initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Energy that will establish EV car sharing fleets around the country at convenient parking lots, affordable housing developments, transit hubs and tourist areas.
AMP is an extension of several successful pilot programs managed by non-profits Forth and Mobility Access Group that have proven the concept in Oregon and California over the past few years.
Goforth is an app and web-based program that offers affordable, local short-term electric vehicle rentals to use for errands, shopping and appointments, or just to test drive an EV without the pressure of a salesperson coming along for the ride!
Goforth uses the established miocar networks app. Members can use the app, website or phone to locate available vehicles and make a reservation, unlock it remotely or with an RFID card, then use the vehicle and return it to the pickup location on their own schedule.
CONNOR HERMAN: “So, with EV car sharing, it’s a way to spread out the cost, so for one fee of around five dollars per hour, folks get to use a car which comes with insurance, roadside assistance, the electric fuel– the charging for that– to really bring down a lot of those upfront barriers that come to owning any vehicle, but also especially with EVs.”
Better yet, the first four-hour rental is free. Users must pre-qualify for membership to ensure they have a valid license and maintain a clean driving record. Now active in Oregon and Washington state, AMP programs are also rolling out in Nevada, North Carolina, New Mexico, Idaho, Michigan and Missouri.
Also riding under the AMP umbrella, St. Louis’ Silvers program follows a different car-sharing path, with a fleet of Chevy Bolt EVs based at two downtown community centers, providing free on-request rides and delivering meals to elderly city residents.
LARRY KING: “My biggest route, like today, will be around 40, 45 to 50. When I get through with the Meals on Wheels, I help out on the side doing transport, medical transportation. It helps me out, compared to the van. I can get into tight spaces, I can maneuver a lot faster. It makes the job a lot easier.”
Through June of 2023, the silvers program has delivered more than 100,000 meals to homebound residents and provided over 2000 free rides. All while saving 45000 pounds of co2 emissions from entering the atmosphere.
DRIVER: “I love the EVs. They kinda grew on me.”
KEVIN HERDLER: “They actually ask for these vehicles over the other ones. They enjoy driving in the electric vehicles. Something new for them and they thoroughly enjoy driving in them. And we only have three here, so not all of them get the opportunity to be in the electric vehicles. They do fight for it, though.”
The AMP program is delivering on-demand, affordable, emissions-free drive time and community services to those areas of the country that need it the most. And giving back environmental benefits to all of us.