California’s State Capital Paves the Way for EV Revolution

May 14th, 2019 | by Steven Schaefer, Senior Technical Writer and Brian Thacker, Customer Success Manager | Posted in: Insight on Things

Powered by Ridecell, GIG Car Share, the car sharing service sponsored by AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah has launched the largest all-electric vehicle fleet in the country.

With this fleet in place, Sacramento becomes a leader in sustainable transportation.

With its 260 all-electric, free-floating fleet, Gig “lays the foundation to electrify transportation and make Sacramento a hub for advanced vehicle technologies.” said Jennifer Venema, Sacramento sustainability manager.

Why is it a good thing for the city of Sacramento?

The launch –celebrated in front of California’s State Capitol amid food trucks and festive electric-car honks — marked the official start of GIG´s 260 Chevy Bolt EV take-over of Sacramento streets to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution.

All-electric car-share vehicles generate zero tailpipe emissions, promising cleaner air. When charged by a clean power grid, all-electric cars can dramatically reduce vehicle and greenhouse gas emissions. “We have studies showing us that each car-share vehicle on the road removes anywhere from eight to 13 personally owned vehicles,” said Venema, referring to a 2018 study from the University of California, Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center.

GIG Car Share partnered with Ridecell, the leading provider of mobility software for car sharing services. Ridecell´s new-mobility platform provided GIG the technology to quickly roll out its car sharing service and improve the user experience. For the Sacramento launch, the platform was able to support the unique requirements of the service by adding key features, including parking report automation and charging point information. The launch of GIG is the latest step in Ridecell’s vision for the future of transportation.

“We are very excited to be the shared mobility platform provider for this green mobility initiative adopted by the city of Sacramento,” said Aarjav Trivedi, CEO of Ridecell “and to be working with GIG Car Share on this multi-year journey to bring car sharing to users throughout California.”

Why is it a good thing for the residents of Sacramento?

GIG allows members to pick up and drop off cars within a 13-square-mile “HomeZone” that includes central Sacramento and some surrounding neighborhoods. To help democratize the use of clean-air vehicles, the car-share company strategically positioned 50 percent of its “HomeZone” in low-income areas, which typically have a higher barrier to accessing EVs.

Another social benefit of carsharing is its lower cost. Riders gain the benefits of private-vehicle use without the costs and responsibilities of ownership. The operator provides gas, parking, maintenance, and insurance while users pay a simple fee. To further position itself as a cost-effective car replacement option, GIG offers free membership and rate options payable per minute, hour or day–the cheapest rate option applies.

Rick Houston, an early GIG aficionado who has taken 15 trips with GIG so far during its soft launch, shared enthusiastically that GIG was so much cheaper than Lyft or Uber and how great he felt about doing his part to improve the quality of life in his city.

Paving the way for the EV revolution

Sacramento was able to move forward with its Sac-to-Zero electrification program thanks to a $44 million grant from Volkswagen’s Electrify America, a fund created by the German automaker as part of the settlement after its emission lawsuit. A big portion of that grant was won by GIG Car Share. Over a 10-year period, Electrify America plans to spend $2 billion building a nationwide network of fast-charging stations accessible to all brands of electric vehicles.

The net result is a win for Sacramento. The GIG fleet managers have seen thousands of GIG app downloads since the earlier soft launch, and with the full fleet available, are expecting more as the service becomes an active part of Sacramento’s Sac-to-Zero program. Shared mobility is changing the face of cities. Combining EV with carsharing brings great options for an urban population looking for convenience that reduces carbon footprint.


Steven Schaefer, Senior Technical Writer, Ridecell
Brian Thacker, Customer Success Manager, Ridecell


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