The unique business model of Zipcar is that it rents cars by the hour. Rates are affordable, ranging from $6 to $14 per hour, as of 2015. The Zipcar rental service also differs from other car rental companies by way of the vehicles it offers, which may include BMW 3-series, Mini Coopers and VW Jettas.
Also unlike other car rental companies, Zipcar's vehicles are parked in municipal lots and structures, making it more convenient for drivers to get to them on foot.
To rent Zipcar vehicles, drivers are required to become a member. They will then receive a Zipcard in the mail. Bookings are made through the Zipcar website, free apps for the iPhone or Android or, for a fee of $3.50, by calling 1-866-4ZIPCAR. With each reservation, the first 180 miles are free of charge, as is gas.
Although one of the unique benefits of Zipcar is the fact that drivers can rent cars for as little as an hour, vehicles can also be hired for up to 7 days. Arrangements can also be made to keep cars for longer.
In addition to its branches across the United States, Zipcar also has operations in Canada and Europe, with branches in France, Spain, Austria and the United Kingdom. Drivers are free to drive across the border between the United States and Canada with their Zipcar rentals.