It looks like Los Angeles is set to get access to car sharing service Zipcar, as it plans to open an office in Hollywood tomorrow. Zipcar has been inviting the press to an event tomorrow with L.A. City Council President Eric Garcetti, to mark its entry into Los Angeles, the 16th market covered by the company. The introduction of Zipcar to the Los Angeles market would be a first for the mainline, car sharing movement, which allows user to rent cars on an hour-by-hour basis. Car sharing startups have become immensely popular in areas such as Boston and San Francisco, with heavy competition between Zipcar, Relayrides, and Getaround.
High end, luxury car, peer-to-peer rental service HiGear, which is backed by BV Capital, 500 Startups and Battery Ventures, quietly started offering up rentals in the Los Angeles area last week, although Higear's focus in on high end, daily rentals. GetAround, another venture backed peer-to-peer car rental service, already has a Southern California beachhead in San Diego. It also looks as if ZipCar apparently has been quitely running programs on the USC and UCLA campuses, limited to faculty, staff, and students.
Southern California--famous for being particularly spread out and car-centric--offers up an interesting challenging for the car sharing market, due to low population density and the dearth of residents who do not already have access to a car. Los Angeles is known as one of the few large cities in the nation where you almost cannot function without having your own car.