City celebrates car-sharing program

Mayor R.T. Rybak and Minneapolis residents are gathering Friday to celebrate the addition of a solar-powered hybrid to the Twin Cities environmentally-focused car-sharing program.

The new plug-in hybrid car is powered by electricity coming from a solar system installed on the roof of Mississippi Market in St. Paul.

HOURCAR, a program of the nonprofit Neighborhood Energy Connection (NEC), is an environmentally-friendly car-sharing program in the Twin Cities. The NEC seeks to “conserve resources, and improve quality of life by offering tools for energy-efficient living,” according to their  website.

HOURCAR, which operates in Minneapolis and St. Paul, is the first car-sharing program in the world to power a portion of its vehicles using solar electricity. Ten cars will be added to HOURCARS 17-car fleet soon.

The University of Minnesota is one of 23 colleges in the United States to provide a car-sharing program to students, staff and faculty. Since January 2006, the University has provided about six car-sharing vehicles through Zipcar, Inc.

The event will take place at 10:30 a.m. Friday, at the 46th Street Hiawatha light-rail station.