The Clean Rural Shared Electric Mobility (CRuSE) Project seeks to demonstrate that round trip
plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) car sharing can serve rural communities in a financially
sustainable way, while benefiting low-income residents, government and local businesses, the
town at large, and tourists.
Round trip car sharing, provided by firms like ZipCar, has been well
established in many urban centers for years. Rural and low-income communities could benefit
most from car sharing services, due to lack of density to support traditional transit, biking, or
other options, but car sharing is virtually unknown outside of major urban centers.
Hood River presents an ideal opportunity to test, assess, and hone how best to offer an attractive PEV car
sharing service, in a rural setting, to benefit drivers from multiple sectors.
The CRuSE Project envisions a three-year demonstration program, with five PEVs stationed
throughout Hood River, at affordable housing sites, the city center, and tourist destinations.
American Honda is loaning five post-lease Clarity EVs to the project. Envoy Technologies will
provide the car sharing platform, enabling users to reserve and access vehicles via a smart phone,
paying by the minute or hour, and returning the PEV to its home base. As part of this Project,
Envoy will provide a Spanish translation of its app to appeal to diverse community members,
alternate payment mechanisms to meet the needs of those without access to credit cards or bank
accounts, and tiered pricing structures, enabling different prices to be charged to different user
groups, enabling the potential for subsidies to be offered to qualified user groups.
Forth will work with the City of Hood River, Hood River Columbia Area Transit, the Port of
Hood River and Ride Connection, along with several community organizations such as
Columbia Cascade Housing Corporation (an affordable housing provider) and Mid-Columbia
Economic Development District to assess transportation needs and establish Envoy car sharing at
optimal parking locations. Several of these organizations have indicated a willingness to provide
a parking space for car sharing services throughout the three-year project period.
PEV Charging installations will be facilitated by the local utility, Pacific Power, and OpConnect.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will perform data collection and analysis, to help the
Project develop a model of financially sustainable car sharing, which will be refined and
improved throughout the project. Forth and Columbia Willamette Clean Cities will disseminate
the findings via webinars, conferences, regional workshops, to publicize results and entice other
Clean Cities Coalitions to pursue initiating PEV car sharing in rural communities, nationwide.
If successful, the CRuSE Project could bring PEV car sharing services to
underserved rural communities nationwide, providing rural America with improved
transportation access, energy efficiency benefits, environmental benefits, at lower costs to users.