Ford Motor Company has partnered with Zipcar, the leading car-sharing network, to become the largest supplier of automobiles for Zipcar’s University program.
Zipcar announced that they have teamed up with Ford to provide 1000 cars to over 250 college and university campuses in the US over a two year period beginning this academic year.
Ford will begin shipping the fuel-efficient 2012 Ford Focus and the Ford Escape to campuses this week. They will join Zipcar's fleet of vehicles, which include environmentally friendly and reliable cars, along with SUV's and trucks, available for rent by the hour to students, staff and faculty.
Scott Griffith, chairman and CEO, Zipcar, says "the alliance will help Ford and Zipcar prepare the next generation of drivers for the future of urban transportation. We’ve had Zipcars on campuses for more than eight years and as a result we’ve learned a lot from the next generation of drivers. We’re targeting a generation that only knows how to buy music by the song so paying for a car by the hour is a natural for them."
Ford envisions the partnership with Zipcar as a way to reach younger buyers who will be looking to purchase a new vehicle upon completing their higher education.
Zipcar has been available at colleges and universities for 8 years providing students with an opportunity to rent vehicles with a swipe of a card using a radio-frequency identification system. The student pays an annual fee of $35 and up to $8 per hour to use the vehicle that includes gas and insurance.
The agreement with Ford will discount the annual membership fee for the first 100,000 new student accounts and the hourly rate for the first one million hours of use at select colleges and universities.
Zipcar's University program which offers "Wheels when you want them" is designed to ease parking issues, public transportation challenges, and save student's money that would be spent on insurance and parking for a vehicle that isn't needed for everyday use by a segment of the population that is interested in reducing their carbon footprint on the planet.
With more than 250 schools participating, Zipcar's are available coast-to-coast at Ivy League school and major universities including "Harvard University, Yale University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, the University of Southern California, the University of California – Berkeley, Loyola Marymount University, Florida State University, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, George Washington University, and others."
Zipcar says that each shared vehicle can eliminate the need for at least 15 automobiles currently used by students, staff and faculty. Ride-share users are provided vehicles less then 2-years old and includes 24/7 road service for vehicles that come in all shapes, sizes and colors.