Feasibility Report: Electric Vehicle Car-Sharing Program for Use by Low and Mid Income Communities in North-Central Minnesota, USA


Feasibility Report: Electric Vehicle Car-Sharing Program for Use by Low and Mid Income Communities in North-Central Minnesota, USA

Published Date






Carsharing programs have been developed and improved by researchers and scientists throughout the past few decades and have developed into a viable alternative vehicle-use method. Carsharing reduces the need for private vehicle ownership, in turn reducing vehicle purchase and maintenance costs to individuals and families. According to one program study in New York, through replacing routine personal car trips with use of a carshare program, families saved an average of $154 to $435 per month. These cost benefits are true across the board, but are especially present when considering rural mileage. Electric carsharing programs have begun emerging over the past decade, which save users money otherwise spent on fuel, as well as reduce environmental impact through the use of electric zero-emission vehicles. Now is an important time to pay attention to electric vehicles, as they are quickly integrating into consumer culture with the current Presidential administration announcing a plan to implement 500,000 L3 chargers nationally in the next decade . Currently, the state of Minnesota currently has 1,192 publicly available charging sites. Nearly 35% of the region has either one or zero vehicle access. Nearly 35% of the population is a cost-burden household (30% of income goes toward rent/housing payment). Including over 50% of renters. 13% of Beltrami County citizens live in severely cost burdened households (when 50% or more of income goes toward rent/housing payment). 43% of Bemidji, last of the 99 largest MN cities, in cost burden households. Cost burden results in less money available for transportation; less transportation results in a reduced quality of life. Reducing the barriers to access of sufficient transportation is important, especially because rural communities can be ‘left behind’ in technological advancement. This feasibility study investigates the possibility for the implementation of an electric rural vehicle sharing program in north central Minnesota. Included in this study are potential operation models, funding models, and implementation recommendations. A graduate researcher from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities conducted this feasibility study in cooperation with the Regional Sustainable Development Partnership (RSDP) through the University of Minnesota Extension, and the Headwaters Regional Development Commission (HRDC) staff. The HRDC is a quasi-government agency that serves communities in the counties of Beltrami, Clearwater, Hubbard, Lake of The Woods, and Mahnomen. The study will be a product for the Headwaters Regional Transportation Coordination Council, a MnDOT funded program to improve accessibility and mobility for transportation disadvantaged individuals. RSDP Supports localized sustainability projects through the partnerships of communities and the University of Minnesota. Energy resources have been provided through Clean Energy Resource Teams, an organization committed to helping increase energy sustainability in Minnesota. Research methods included collecting information and data from similar studies, conducting internet surveys, and conducting informational interviews with industry professionals and community members.


Related to



Series/Report Number

Funding information

This is a co-publication of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA), Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership, and Headwaters Regional Development Commission. Project funding was provided by the Jane C. Freeman Rural Policy Fellowship through the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and University of Minnesota CURA Compact funding. The Community Assistantship Program (CAP) is a cross-college, cross-campus University of Minnesota initiative coordinated by the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) and the Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDP). The content of this report is the responsibility of the author and is not necessarily endorsed by CAP, CURA, RSDP or the University of Minnesota. The Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership brings together local talent and resources with University of Minnesota knowledge to drive sustainability in agriculture and food systems, tourism and resilient communities, natural resources and clean energy. The Partnerships are part of University of Minnesota Extension. The Headwaters Regional Development Commission (HRDC) is a regional planning and development organization that serves local governments, development organizations, community leaders, and others in the five counties of Beltrami, Clearwater, Hubbard, Lake of the Woods, and Mahnomen in north central Minnesota. The HRDC can help these customers identify needs, develop appropriate solutions, and find the resources to carry out their plans. Most importantly we provide staff leadership to move our communities forward. © 2021 by The Regents of the University of Minnesota

Isbn identifier

Doi identifier

Previously Published Citation

Suggested citation

Johnson, Lily. (2021). Feasibility Report: Electric Vehicle Car-Sharing Program for Use by Low and Mid Income Communities in North-Central Minnesota, USA. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/225365.

Content distributed via the University Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor. By using these files, users agree to the Terms of Use. Materials in the UDC may contain content that is disturbing and/or harmful. For more information, please see our statement on harmful content in digital repositories.