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There's a new electric vehicle (EV) car-share service and a network of charging stations in the Twin Cities.

This week, St. Paul and Minneapolis launched the EV Spot Network and Evie Carshare, which officials say will help support electric vehicle usage in the metro area, a news release says. 

Once it's fully operational, the program, spearheaded by the City of St. Paul, will include 171 electric vehicles people can rent through Evie Carshare and 70 EV Spot charging locations, with four charging ports each. 

This will increase the number of public EV charging ports in the Twin Cities by 50% — and it's all powered by 100% renewable energy.

"With a robust charging infrastructure, St. Paul and Minneapolis will be a welcoming place for people driving EVs and those who need a convenient way to get around town," Sean Kershaw, St. Paul Public Works director, said in the news release.

Here's how it works:

Evie Carshare

Evie Carshare allows members to rent cars by the minute, hour, or day, and it's set up so people can make one-way trips. Unlike other car-share programs, when members are done with the vehicle they can drop it off anywhere in the 35-square-mile "home area" or at an EV Spot for charging. 

To start, the Evie fleet will include 101 white-and-green Chevrolet Bolt vehicles, but the fleet will eventually include 171 eclectic vehicles, a news release says. 

The program is designed to be convenient and affordable for everyone, with a rate structure that includes a low-income plan. 

According to Evie Carshare's website, membership fees range from $0 to $30 a month. And there's currently a "limited time offer" where people can join for $1 and get a $10 drive credit. 

A news release says full-price options are about half the cost of what other one-way carshare services charge elsewhere in the United States. 

To get started using the car-share program, sign up here

EV Spot Network

The EV Spot Network is a system of curbside charging stations called EV Spots located within the aforementioned "home area" in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The network began operations on Feb. 2, with five EV Spot locations open for the public in St. Paul and Minneapolis.

The network of charging spots is expected to be fully operational by this fall, and will include 70 EV Spots, each with two spots for charging Evie vehicles and two spots for private EV vehicles. You can find a map of all of them here.

Public charging rates at EV Spots have a per kilowatt rate ranging from 23 to 35 cents, depending on if you choose Level 2 or DCFC (fast-charging), the city's website shows. There is also a per session connection fee of $1.25 for Level 2 charging or $2.50 for DCFC.

This is the largest publicly owned, renewably powered community EV initiative in the U.S. to date, a news release says. This service was launched by the City of St. Paul in partnership with Minneapolis, the nonprofit HOURCAR (which operates Evie Carshare), and Xcel Energy. The carshare fleet was leased by the City of St. Paul. 

Officials say the EV Spot Network responds to a growing need for public EV charging stations and will help make it easier for people to transition to EVs or use an EV when they need to drive via Evie Carshare. 

The program will also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, combat climate change, increase reliance on renewable energy and improve air quality, the release says. 

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