Electric Carshare: Powered by the Sun

We've expressed our passions for the sharing economy at length in the past, and now we're undertaking another radical experiment in bringing it to life at Element Urban Village. (Phase II currently under construction—presales available.)

Are you ready? Here it is, summarized in the four cleanest, greenest words ever written: SOLAR POWERED ELECTRIC CARSHARE.

(Plus, there's another wild idea we've got brewing that we haven't talked about yet... Read on for more on that.)

The Element project provides the perfect petrie dish for a solar-powered experiment in sustainability and carsharing. Its ideal location allows people the opportunity to live an urban lifestyle with very minimal dependence on a vehicle. Walking and biking are a natural choice—a second (or even first) car is rarely needed. However, an existing carshare program in Riversdale for us to integrate with was lacking, so instead of waiting for it to happen (it's inevitable), we decided to make it happen ourselves.

Speaking of inevitable, electric vehicles are without a doubt part of all of our futures. There is immense potential for EV uptake in Saskatoon, and we saw this as a great opportunity for us to kill two birds with one sustainable stone. We're offering a group of people the chance to experience the benefits of EVs firsthand without the burden of buying one themselves. Join the Village, ditch your second car, and feel good about being part of the solution.

Here's the rundown. Shift has recently acquired an electric BMW i3 as the new company car. Its current home, our parking stall behind The Two Twenty, is equipped with a high-speed electric vehicle (EV) charging station courtesy of Sun Country Highway. Our aim is to test out the shared electric car idea internally at the company before bestowing the car and the concept onto the Element Urban Village condo board in 2018.

This ain't your grandma's Prius, either. There's a reason we chose the i3. It's not a great car despite being electric—it's a great car because it's electric. It's the BMW of electric vehicles.

Not only is it a zippy, responsive, solid pleasure to drive, but the build quality is remarkably green as well. BMW's own estimate is that up to 95% of the car is constructed from recyclable materials. From carbon fibre to bamboo to recycled interior finishes, this surprising little vehicle is likely among the most environmentally responsible in history.

We're absolutely stoked about this car. And we can't wait to show you why. Wanna go for a ride? Call us up. It's got to be experienced to be believed.

Here are the numbers for you stats nerds out there:

  • Model: 2015 BMW i3, white
  • Range: 125 km
  • Recharge: 1 hr 45 min to full
  • 0-100km/h: 7.3 seconds
  • Charger: 60A Level 2 charger

When the car is moved to Element, its new permanent home will be a common parking stall just off the shared courtyard, equipped with the same high-speed EV charging station. Its energy—12,000 km/yr of it, to be exact—will come from a 2 kW peak power solar panel system from Roots Rock Solar installed on the roof of the Phase II Courtyard building.

The car will be available for sharing among all Element owners through a digital scheduling/calendar system. Terms and conditions of the car share program will be included in the condo bylaws. We're structuring it as a 3-year experiment, with an estimated cost to owners of $11 per month. No per-mile costs of any kind. That's the benefit of electric.

This brings us to the next major announcement we'd like to make:

Shift is exploring the possibility of developing an electric carshare program based out of Riversdale, Saskatoon and shared between key local businesses and organizations, such as The Two Twenty. We envision a small fleet of electric cars under a single carshare banner but available to the public and members of Riversdale-based organizations. The Element Urban Village carshare program we've got underway will be the seed from which this exciting larger project will grow.

If you would be interested in taking part in or making use of an electric carshare program based out of Riversdale, please sign up using the form below. We're working on this behind the scenes and we'll be in touch.

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P.S. If you're as interested as we are in the future of clean energy and disruptive innovation, and you've got an hour to kill, watch this fascinating presentation by author and futurist Tony Seba.