Eco-friendly. Money-saving. Convenient. Believe it or not, these three characteristics all describe one incredible initiative: car-sharing. For those who aren't familiar, a company called "Zipcar" has been funding this smart automotive practice for quite some time. Now, Zipcar and Bill Ford, Executive Chairman of Ford Motor, have teamed up to support a new car-sharing program, "Wheelz."
Wheelz, which started out at Stanford University last year, took the practice and reformed it for the college campus community. Instead of renting out cars directly from a business, Wheelz facilitates a "peer-to-peer" car-sharing initiative. This program allows students to make a few hundred bucks a month by renting out their vehicles that would otherwise spend gobs of time sitting on a campus lot.
Both Zipcar and the Ford exec saw obvious perks to starting up this innovative business amongst college campuses and universities. Scott Griffith, Zipcar CEO, explains, "We've learned that campus communities are early adopters and high users of the car-sharing model."1 This is mainly due to the fact that young consumers have a very different thought-process when buying goods and services than their parents do.
Getting down to the technical side of Wheelz, the program operates by installing a "drive box" into participants' vehicles. This keeps track of the car and is important in handling the rental function. Students and community members in need of a quick ride can then reserve a vehicle simply by heading online or using their iPhone. Once rented, the drive box unlocks the vehicle for them.
While Ford may not directly invest in the car-sharing program, Jerry's Ford in Alexandria is glad to know that the automaker has leaders such as Bill Ford who are so supportive of innovative, smart initiatives. And who knows, perhaps one day the Blue Oval will start up a car-sharing arm of its own. We know each and every team member at 6510 Little River Turnpike Alexandria, VA 22312 would be first in line to rent a new Ford model, that's for sure!