When Share and Share Are Not Alike

Project 100 seeks to replicate the Zipcar model—but with a hefty price tag

By the numbers

$400: Estimated monthly cost to take part in the Tesla-powered Project 100.

$60: Yearly cost of Geoff Carter’s Zipcar membership in Seattle.

$8-$11: Zipcar’s hourly use fee

$0: Project 100’s hourly use fee.

Fast: What your Zipcar probably isn’t.

I’ve lived car-free in Las Vegas for one year. In that time, I’ve gotten around on bicycle, by bus and by carpooling. And every day for the past year, I have missed Zipcar, the car-sharing service I used while living in Seattle. Now the Downtown Project is introducing Project 100, a car-sharing service that also includes bikes and shuttle buses (a mobile app will determine what’s closest to you). The very mention of it—though Downtown Project leaders aren’t sure when it would come online—got me dreaming those old Zipcar dreams.

Then I read up on it at GoProject100.com—paying particular notice to its all-electric Tesla fleet and its estimated $400 monthly price tag—and my hopes died hard.

Let me tell you about my Zipcar membership, which I still maintain for trips to Seattle and Portland. I pay a $60 annual fee, and car-use costs between $8 and $11 per hour. (An all-day Zipcar is $72; overnights are about half that). Zipcar pays for gas, maintenance and insurance, and I can drive 180 miles in a single day before I have to pay for mileage. I have my choice of such regular-guy cars as a Honda Civic or a Mini Cooper. For the kind of driving I do (mostly work- and shopping-related trips), Zipcar is ideal.

The Project 100 model doesn’t have those hourly use fees. But, still, at $400 a month, it doesn’t exactly serve the needs of the average (or even above-average) carless Joe. I hate to be one of those “I can buy my own car for that” guys, but … I can buy my own car for that.

Anyway, I’d feel kind of anxious driving a $62,000 car that didn’t belong to me. And I’d be terrified of hitting pedestrians who scarcely pay attention to moving cars, let alone cars that don’t make any sound.