NewEnergyNews: OF BIKES AND ELECTRIC CARS IN FRANCE AND THE U.S.

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    Sunday, June 29, 2008

    OF BIKES AND ELECTRIC CARS IN FRANCE AND THE U.S.

    Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë wants to create Autolib, a public electric car sharing program designed like the Parisian Vélib' bicycle program. The plan is to place 4000 EVs at locations around the city and, for a small fee one-time fee or as part of a monthly subscription, Parisians can grab an electric car and go from a pick-up to a drop-off point.

    Vélib' has worked well in Paris, turning many pedestrians and commuters into velocipedists. Recognizing there are situations for which bikes are impractical and people for whom autotransport is the more logical choice, Mayor Delanoë thinks Autolib will get people using clean vehicles in the short run and, by familiarizing them with the technology, facilitate the transition to EVs.

    Mayor Delanoë: "This could revolutionise transport…[providing for] a system of individual journeys that are completely clean…"

    His Green Party opponents are resisting the initiative. Denis Baupin, Deputy Mayor (Green Party): "I'm very sceptical…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…."

    The Mayor and his Socialist Party allies contend the program will dramatically reduce the negative effects of internal combustion engine vehicles. The Green Party does not want to encourage the public to use any kind of car.

    At first glance, this seems like the usual political squabbling. NewEnergyNews picked up the item while following the progress of Liza Stoner’s Ride for Renewal (See FOR THE ELECTRIC CAR: MS. STONER GOES TO WASHINGTON.) There is an interesting commonality in the stories.

    Liza saw the movie Who Killed The Electric Car? and decided to start a campaign to get national leaders to back efforts to bring EVs to market. This summer she is riding her bicycle to D.C. to present a petition
    (give us electric cars! – click through and sign) to her home state lawmakers. Latest reports put her in Wisconsin and riding strong despite summer showers.

    Word is getting out about Liza’s campaign and that’s good. But the Internet yammer has begun.

    Although Liza has justifiably garnered widespread admiration and support, a nattering bicycle enthusiast here and there is beginning to echo the French Green Party Deputy Mayor.

    Here’s
    John commenting on a post about Liza at ecovelo: “Man, I do not want to be a butt and be seen as attacking a cute 14-year old phenom who is an activist for something she believes in . . .BUT…Am I the only one who sees something a little odd in biking 1600 miles to demand…more SUBSIDIES…For cars…Liza’s cool, but she’d be way, way cooler if she was going to ride to Rep. Earl Bluemenauer’s (founder of the Congressional bike caucus) office with a petition…for bicyclists like her…”

    Point 1: Liza isn’t just cool, John, Liza is a HERO. She saw something that needed fixing and got busy DOING something about it.
    (click through and sign – give us electric cars! )

    Point 2: Both John and the Parisian Deputy Mayor have set their cause (bicycles) against a decent and good cause (a practical campaign for cleaner cars). Some might hastily say it is too late for John to keep from being a butt because he became one the instant he set his perfectly legitimate cause in an entirely misguided direction. And they might angrily wonder how a Green Party leader could be against EVs in a world where China is building as many miles of NEW highway each year as there are in ALL of France.

    NewEnergyNews would not be hasty or angry but would say the same thing to both: Do not let YOUR perfect be the enemy of the GREATER good. Cars are here to stay. It’s all about how much and how best. There are much bigger fights to be in. It’s time to build bridges among allies.


    click to sign

    audio report on Autolib

    Paris plans help-yourself green car hire
    Angelique Chrisafis, June 20, 2008 (UK Guardian)

    WHO
    Bertrand Delanoë, Mayor (Socialist Party), Paris; Denis Baupin, Deputy Mayor (Green Party), Paris; Couples with young children that cannot afford to own a car (target group)

    WHAT
    Mayor Delanoë will institute Autolib, an electric car-sharing (by fee) program for residents of Paris.

    click to enlarge

    WHEN
    - Autolib is expected to be in place by the end of 2009. It is thought to be the first project of its kind by a major city.
    - The financing is to be set up in the coming weeks. Vehicle choices will be made after that.

    WHERE
    - Autolib will place cars at 700 pick-up points around Paris, 200 underground.
    - The Mayor’s enthusiasm for the program has led to a doubling of the number of vehicles from 2,000 to 4,000 and an extension of the range of the plan to beyond the ring road into some Paris suburbs.
    - Electric recharging outlets will be available across the city.

    WHY
    - One news source has reported the Mayor’s office is considering fees of €200-€250 ($315-$394)/month for up to 60 miles of driving.
    - The vehicles will be tracked and organized via a central computer system.
    Like the Vélib' (bike) plan, Parisians will either have an annual subscription for EV use or will pay for use at a hire point with cash or a public transport pass.
    - Picking twenty- and thirty-something couples with limited incomes, small children and ambitions for auto ownership, the Mayor sees Autolib as a way to build their inclination toward EVs by showing them they normally don’t make journeys beyond an EV’s capacity or become inconvenienced by an EV’s recharging time.

    It's this guy's future. He loves bikes and he plugs his car in. Why shouldn't Paris? (click to enlarge

    QUOTES
    - Mayor Delanoë: "There will be a computerised system which allows you as soon as you collect the car to announce where you'll drop it off, so there will be a parking space available…"
    - Denis Baupin, Deputy Mayor (Green Party): "I think we would be better off promoting car-sharing schemes like the ones in Britain that work for occasional use. Whenever electric car schemes have been tested in French towns, it has been a failure."

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