Sustainability Office Partners to Bring First Electric Vehicle Car-Sharing Program to Spokane

A small white car plugged into an electricity station
A new charging station at the GU Office of Sustainability

May 30, 2024
Gonzaga University News Service

An innovative partnership of local and state-wide public and private entities is introducing electric vehicle car sharing to Spokane.

The Zero Emission Vehicle Cooperative (ZEV Co-op), a Seattle-based car sharing firm, partnered with local non-profit Urbanova, Gonzaga University and utility provider Avista, to develop the inaugural program. The project was awarded additional funding from the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Zero Emission Access Program (ZAP).

“ZEV Co-op offers members a cooperative solution to community mobility,” said ZEV Co-op Customer Experience Manager Julien Thorn. “Thanks to the WSDOT grant, we’re looking forward to bringing our user-friendly model to Spokane.”

Founded in 2021, the member-owned ZEV Co-op currently offers electric vehicles at seven locations in the Puget Sound region, and aspires to make zero-emission vehicles easily available to all Washingtonians, with a focus on low-income, underserved and rural communities. The co-op’s long-term plans call for expansion throughout Washington with a goal of 250 electric vehicles in operation by 2026.

In the new Spokane operation, individuals will be able to borrow a car by joining the ZEV Co-op and will pay an hourly fee for use. Vehicle charging stations have been installed behind Gonzaga University’s Sustainability Office on Sharp Avenue, across from the main entrance to College Hall. On Tuesday, June 4, at 12 p.m., ZEV’s service will launch with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Sustainability Office, 521 E. Sharp Ave., where attendees can learn more about car sharing and take test rides.

“Electric vehicle car sharing provides a practical, affordable, clean and convenient transportation solution for city residents,” said Mason Burley, CEO of Urbanova. “We are pleased to partner with ZEV Co-op, Gonzaga and Avista to launch this pilot program and expand transportation options in Spokane. We are particularly grateful to Avista for providing charging infrastructure for this opportunity.”

“New car sharing technologies and business models hold great potential to benefit our communities”, said Rendall Farley, manager of Clean Energy Solutions at Avista.  “Through innovative partnerships and technology demonstration grants such as the ZAP grant, we can better utilize EV charging infrastructure in our communities to provide greater access to the clean and low-cost transportation that electric vehicles offer.  Avista is excited to support this pilot project in partnership with ZEV Co-op, Urbanova, and Gonzaga University.”

“We know folks will jump at the chance to access these clean, carbon-free vehicles to get to job interviews, community service projects, and other appointments around town,” said Jim Simon, director of GU’s Office of Sustainability.

“We’re located in the Logan neighborhood, and it’s particularly exciting that local residents also will have convenient access to the cars as well. With overhead costs such as insurance and maintenance covered by ZEV Co-op, these vehicles are an affordable option when bus transportation isn’t practical.”

Simon, who previously launched car-sharing projects in Buffalo, NY, concludes: “We’re excited to work on this innovative program with these fantastic partners and are eager to help Spokane experience the benefits!”

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