Electric Car Sharing Service Announced in Paris

Paris Traffic at Night

photo by Nelson Minar

We've written many times about the bike sharing services various cities are beginning, most recently this one in Montreal. Paris is going one better (or worse, I suppose, if you're completely anti-auto) than their own popular bike sharing scheme, Vélib by having an electric car sharing service: Autolib. Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë announced yesterday that that program will be in place by the end of 2009 and will consist of some 4,000 cars which program users can pick up from and return to any one of 700 locations throughout the city. Users can either pay a monthly fee or pay as you go by using their monthly transport cards. The particular model of electric car has yet to be determined.

Earth2Tech argues that the €250 ($390) per month fee for the program (which includes 60 miles of driving) is a bit steep. But that figure probably is probably roughly equivalent to Zip Car's most expensive rates here in New York City—depending on exactly how much driving you do of course. Granted the Paris plan has no lower level of monthly commitment, and pay as you go rates have not be announced, but I wouldn't criticize the cost to the consumer on this one.

If you want a decent criticism of the plan on philosophical grounds, Denis Baupin of the Green party says it best, "If this scheme encourages people to pick up these cars every day, using them to go into work and back instead of using bikes or the metro, crowding roads and changing habits, that's a problem."

He has a point, while electric cars are certainly more eco-virtuous than their exhaust spewing cousins, there are plenty of urban planning problems which arise simply because of the automobile itself, regardless of how it's powered.

via :: Earth2Tech and :: The Guardian
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