Electric vehicles, ride-sharing central to Enterprise sustainability vision

During fiscal 2011, the rental car company added more than 150 electric vehicles. It rents more EVs in California than its competitors.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

Rental car and car-sharing company Enterprise Holdings has managed a 4 percent reduction in overall energy consumption since starting its program five years ago, according to the company's first Corporate Sustainability report (which covers the fiscal 2011 period).

As is the case with most transportation companies, Enterprise is working on not just internal initiatives to make its own operations more sustainable and environmentally friendly, it has adapted its services in order to help its customers achieve a green footprint as well.

Aside from the energy reduction, Enterprise reports on its initiative to spend more than $150 million on retrofitting or building new rental car locations and facilities that conform with latest green building standards. The company is also part of the National Clean Fleets Partnerships, which encourages companies to incorporate electric and alternative-fuel vehicles into its fleet.

To that end, Enterprise added more than 150 full electric vehicles in fiscal 2011; it rents more Nissan Leafs than any other operator and was the first to rent the Chevy Volt. Customers can currently rent electric vehicles at locations in 11 different California cities. The latest additions were in Santa Barbara, Encino, Newport Beach and Riverside. Those additions mean that Enterprise has the biggest electric rental fleet in the state. It is in unique position to help consumers and businesses learn more about the limits and potential of electric vehicles.

"With partners like Enterprise, we are educating the community about electric vehicles and other alternative fuel technologies that decrease carbon emissions and further our urban sustainability and mobility goals," said Michele Mician, sustainability director for the City of Palm Springs.

Other states where Enterprise rents electric vehicles include Hawaii, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Washington. Other locations in Florida and Arizon will be added in coming weeks.

Enterprise's sustainability strategy also includes services centered on the car-sharing model that Zipcar has helped pioneer in the United States. For example, in early November, Enterprise announced a deal with the Army and Air Force Exchange service to bring car-sharing services to the Fort Carson Army Base in Colorado and the Fort Bragg Army Base in North Carolina. The services will be provided by WeCar by Enterprise.

"Our goal is to provide an alternative to ease the transportation burden on military bases, where convenient transportation might be needed for duty-related activities or other errands," said Ryan Johnson, assistant vice president for WeCar and Enterprise RideShare services.

So far, WeCar by Enterprise has expanded into more than 26 states.

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