"The future of transportation will be a blend of things like Zipcar, public transportation, and private car ownership. Not only do I not fear that, but I think it's a great opportunity for us to participate in the changing nature of car ownership."
-- Bill Ford, Ford's (F) executive chairman, in the "The Best New Idea in Business," Fortune's cover story about Zipcar. Writer Paul Keegan tells how the nine-year-old car-sharing service has grown to 325,000 members and revenues of $130 million. Those numbers have caught the attention of Hertz (HTZ) and Enterprise Rent-A-Car, which have jumped to copy its model.
Automakers want in the game too. Of all the companies talking with Zipcar about partnerships--Toyota (TM), Nissan (NSANY), Honda (HMC), BMW (BMWG)--Ford has been the quickest to embrace this evolution in transportation. "Zipcar is the perfect application for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids because you leave them at a certain location to be charged and then take them out again," says Ford. --Jessica Shambora
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