Ottawa’s VRTUCAR celebrates 15 years

Jan. 14, 2015, Ottawa, ON – Ottawa’s largest car sharing company, VRTUCAR, is celebrating 15 years. What started out in 2000 as a community-based initiative by current chief sharing officer, Wilson Wood, and a determined group of enthusiasts has grown into a successful social enterprise.

“It’s been exciting to watch our membership grow over the years from five pioneers to nearly 3,000, as we build a community of sharing and sustainability mobility in Ottawa,” Wood notes.

The Ottawa-based enterprise currently boasts a fleet of 106 cars, including hybrids and electric vehicles and 90 stations, with a growing membership.

“We’ve all been told it’s good to share. But it’s not just nice; it’s an environmentally responsible choice. Each car we put on the road replaces 9 to 13 personal vehicles. That means there are more than 1000 fewer cars on Ottawa streets,” Wood says, adding “It’s great to be part of such a positive movement.”

VRTUCAR has not only grown on its home turf in Ottawa, but has also expanded to Kingston in 2012, where it currently has four stations.

Its 15th birthday celebrations kicked off at the beginning of January with a breakfast with VRTUCAR’s first dozen members and its co-founders. VRTUCAR — that little membership-based idea — plans to move steadily forward, as it continues to grow its fleet, stations, and membership numbers and curate its local partnerships. This year also marks the beginning of several new partnerships, such as one with HUB Ottawa, singer songwriter Jeremy Fisher and Ottawa Centre EcoDistrict.

“We love this community and are proud to be a part of it,” Wood concludes.

VRTUCAR by the numbers:

• 2,800 current members
• 106 cars
• 90 stations
• In North America, car-sharing households reduced their average annual GHG emissions by 580 kg. Using a visual that we can understand that’s equal to the weight of 207 Chihuahuas; that’s a lot of gas!