Electric cars do not pollute as do internal combustion vehicles. The relative problem is one of frequent charging and limited distances. Pay-as-you-drive electric car rentals are expected to help cut pollution and reduce traffic in Paris, as the new fleet of fully electric Autiolib vehicles hits the French capital. As of December 5, Parisians could take the bubble cars for a ride from more than 1,200 parking spots where they rest for recharge. They would cost 10 euros a day or 15 euros a week, while an annual fee of 144 euro allows users to take the car for only half an hour each time for 5 euro, just over the price of two underground tickets. The Autolib system builds on the success of the Velib bicycle-sharing service.
Modeled after the city’s successful curbside bike rental scheme, Autolib (a contraction of automobile and liberté) will offer electric vehicles for customers to pick up or drop off at various locations around the city. Additional will be available in two dozen nearby cities as well.
All things said, Autolib could reduce Paris’ carbon emissions by upwards of 22,000 tons per year.
Soaring insurance and parking costs have already persuaded 25% of French citizens to cut back or give up on using their cars, according to a study published last year by Chronos TNS Sofres.
The little four-seater Bluecar, designed and manufactured exclusively for Bolloré by Italian designer Pininfarina, famous for sculpting Ferraris and Maseratis, will have a range of up to 250 km between before a recharge which will take about four hours.
Bolloré said his batteries are safer than the lithium-ion variety used by most of the car industry because they are less prone to overheating. They are also more stable when being charged and discharged.
The car rental scheme follows the car-sharing project launched in September 2011, which also aimed to clear the traffic-clogged Parisian boulevards and deliver what its backers hoped would be a major boost for electric vehicles.
Under the €235 million project, the brainchild of Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë, the car-hire service debuted with 66 cars and 33 rental stations across Paris before expanding to 3,000 vehicles and more than 1,000 stations by the end of 2012.
Similar projects exist in the US and in other European countries, such as Belgium, Germany and Switzerland. The Belgian Zen Car, one of the first EV-for-hire services, was launched at the beginning of this year with around thirty 100% electric cars.
The company Zen Car and the Société Régionale d’Investissement de Bruxelles have announced a partnership to set up an electric car sharing scheme in the Belgian capital as of March 2011.
Article by Andy Soos, appearing courtesy Environmental News Network.