Have you used Zipcar? How did you like it? Was it convienent?
Zipcar is a for-profit, membership-based carsharing company providing automobile rental to its members, billable by the hour or day. Zipcar was founded in 1999 by Boston residents Robin Chase and Antje Danielson.
Clients are able to view vehicle availability and reserve a rental car via the internet or by telephone, in increments as short as one half-hour and pay only for time; 125 miles are included each reservation day. Each vehicle has a home location, a reserved parking space located on a street, driveway, or neighborhood parking lot in the client’s area.
Members are given an access card, which will open the vehicle they have reserved at the time they have reserved it. Each vehicle records hours of usage and mileage, which is uploaded to a central computer via a wireless data link. The location of the vehicles is not tracked. The rental includes driver's insurance (the minimum amount required by law), a gas card for the car, XM Satellite Radio, and reimbursements for typical car maintenance items like car washes and window wiper fluid refills. No purchase option for additional insurance exists.
With offices in Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, San Francisco, Toronto, and Chicago, it is now the largest car-sharing organization in the United States and North America.
Zipcar also offers its services for companies, universities and organizations as a partnership called "Z2B". This program typically offers the annual membership at a discount for affiliated clients and is marketed as an employee benefit, for business driving, for company car outsourcing, or as a tenant amenity. They have also partnered with over 21 colleges and universities to provide students with access to their car sharing network, the first being the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
1999: Concept solidified by Robin Chase and Antje Danielson.
2000: Company formed.
June 2000: First Zipcars hit the road around Boston, MA.
September 2001: Washington, D.C. office opened
February 2002: New York office opened
February 2003: Scott Griffith replaces Robin Chase as CEO.
April 2005: Zipcar partners with XM Satellite Radio (NASDAQ: XMSR) to provide satellite radio in all Zipcars.
July 2005: Zipcar secures $10 million in funding led by Benchmark Capital.
August 2005: San Francisco office opened.
May 2006: Toronto office opened.
May 2006: General Electric's Commercial Finance Fleet Services (NYSE: GE) gives Zipcar $20 million in lease line financing