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A first-of-its kind electric vehicle carshare network received its official launch in St. Paul and Minneapolis on Friday. 

The EV Spot Network is the first 100% renewably-powered, city-owned carshare in the nation. 

The initial roll-out is ongoing with 101 electric vehicles already in service since February, according the City of St. Paul. An additional 70 vehicles will be added as supply chain allows, and over 280 public charging stations are available in the network.

The stations are available to any electric vehicle user and scattered throughout a 35-square-mile area with 90% placed in census tracts noted as an "area of concern for environmental justice." 

Mayors Melvin Carter and Jacob Frey, of St. Paul and Minneapolis respectively, joined U.S. Sen. Tina Smith to announce the new service Friday, arriving at the podium in an Evie car.

During the announcement Friday, Carter highlighted the EV Spot Network's aim to serve those who have limited transportation options and are at higher-risk of being negatively impacted by the climate crisis.

"We're blazing a trail that we believe others will absolutely see the need to follow," he said. 

Funding for the project included $4 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation, $3.65 million from the U.S. Department of Energy, $4 million from Xcel Energy, $750,000 from the City of St. Paul and $350,000 from the City of Minneapolis. 

The project also received significant support from private foundations

How it works 

Evie Carshare is providing the fleet of Chevy Bolts and Nissan Leaf+ models to the City of St. Paul under a lease. The carshare service itself is operated for the city by HOURCAR, a local nonprofit. 

Vehicles may be driven beyond the EV Spot Network service area, but all trips must end with the vehicle parked back within the network's boundaries. 

Over 3,000 subscribers were already registered before Friday's announcement event at the Union Depot in St. Paul. 

Subscriptions cost between $0-$30 a month, and $6 a month for students.

Users can register at www.eviecarshare.com, via the HOURCAR/Evie Carshare App, or by calling HOURCAR at 612- 343-2277.

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