Evie, the Twin Cities car-sharing program featuring all-electric vehicles, hit a major milestone last month when the service recorded its 150,000th trip.

The first cars hit the streets of St. Paul and Minneapolis in February 2022. After a slow start, usage has accelerated rapidly. In the past three months, members collectively made nearly 50,000 trips, including 14,000 in October, which set a monthly record.

"It's exciting," said Will Schroeer with East Metro Strong, a nonprofit that advocates for better transportation options on the east side of the Twin Cities. "Word is getting out. People are finding the service is useful."

Evie is the nation's first 100% renewably powered and municipally owned car-share service in the country. Minneapolis and St. Paul together own Evie, which is operated by Hourcar and came into existence with funding partners that included the Met Council, the U.S. Department of Energy and private philanthropy.

Evie has grown to a fleet of 170 Nissan Leaf and Chevy Bolt cars and a network of charging stations across a 35-square-mile area stretching from neighborhoods in north Minneapolis to downtown and east through St. Paul's Midway area and areas adjacent to the State Capitol.

The service area is expected to grow even larger with cars to be available at four stations along the Gold Line, the new bus rapid transit line that starting in 2025 will run from downtown St. Paul to the suburbs of Maplewood, Oakdale and Woodbury.

With fees charged by the minute, hour or day, Evie is filling a transportation void for those who don't or can't afford to own a car, but need to get to places not served by traditional public transportation or need to travel when buses and trains are not running, Schroeer said.

Nearly 40% of trips have been taken by people of color and those who qualify as low-income. They have used the cars to get to jobs and medical appointments and make runs to Target.

"The beauty is it can meet a variety of needs," Schroeer said. "We are serving people who really need this service."

Cars can be picked up at and returned to a legal parking spot anywhere within the service zone. But vehicles can be driven anywhere, which has allowed some users to visit state parks and go camping near Duluth, Schroeer said.

The electric-car-sharing program fits with both cities' efforts to fight against climate change. Since Evie's inception, users have logged more than 1.5 million zero-emission miles, officials said.

"By embracing electric vehicles, Minneapolis is improving mobility options for residents, reducing emissions, and leading the way toward a greener, smarter, and more sustainable future for generations to come," Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said in a statement.

There were about 41,400 electric vehicles on Minnesota roads as of July, according to MnDOT.

"Don't be shy about trying them," Schroeer said. "People find the cars are easy to drive and figure out."

Correction: A previous version of this article indicated some of the cars are Chevy Volts. The vehicles are Chevy Bolts.