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Since the February debut of the Twin Cities' Evie Carshare, users have logged more than 9,000 trips and 75,000 miles on the fleet of white-and-green Chevy Bolts scattered throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul.

That exceeds the early expectations of Paul Schroeder, CEO of HOURCAR, the nonprofit operator of the electric vehicle-sharing program that officials say is the first in the country to be powered entirely by renewable energy.

"We are well ahead of where we thought we might be," Schroeder said. "The uptake of the program has been faster than expected."

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and U.S. Sen. Tina Smith on Friday cruised up to St. Paul's Union Depot in a pair of Evie cars to laud the program's recent launch. HOURCAR currently has 101 Evie cars available for use and expects to add 70 Nissan Leaf Plusses to its fleet down the road.

Through a partnership with Xcel Energy, they're also building a network of 70 EV charging spots throughout the Twin Cities. Twenty-seven of those locations, which also include chargers for privately owned electric vehicles, are already up and running.

"We're going to make sure that residents who don't own their own cars have the ability to access transportation in an ongoing and sustainable way," Frey said.

Users can sign up for the service online at, using the Evie app or by calling HOURCAR at 612-343-2277. Schroeder said Friday the program had roughly 3,000 subscribers. Once registered, drivers can use those same resources to search for nearby available Evie cars.

Users are billed by the minute, with rates varying from 18 to 30 cents depending on their membership plan. Once finished with a trip, drivers can park the car anywhere within a 35-mile designated "home area" stretching from north Minneapolis to the East Side of St. Paul.

"What this means is that people who have been hurt most by fossil fuel pollution will have the opportunity to participate in the transformation of our transportation system to something that is more clean and more affordable," Smith said, noting that the program was designed with a focus on accessibility for neighborhoods with higher concentrations of low-income residents and people of color.

The nearly $13 million project was funded by a mix of public, private and philanthropic dollars. Carter said he has already heard from leaders of other cities asking how the program came together.

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