NewEnergyNews: PARISIANS SHARING ELECTRIC CARS

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    Sunday, June 27, 2010

    PARISIANS SHARING ELECTRIC CARS

    In Paris, Electric Cars May Join Rental Bikes
    Juliette Hopkins, June 24, 2010 (NY Times)

    "…Bertrand Delanoë, the Socialist mayor of Paris and the brain behind [the Paris Vélib’ program, which offers card-holders a swipe-and-go city-wide fleet of rental bicycles], plans to implement the new electric car rental program, Autolib’, as early as September next year…Bids for the contract to operate the program, to be structured as a public-private partnership, were submitted this month…[T]he winner will be chosen in December…31 local authorities in and around Paris…are participating…Four bidders are vying for the contract…

    "First proposed in 2008, Autolib’ will be the largest electric car sharing program of its kind…The plan is to have 3,000 zero-emission electric vehicles located at 1,000 parking stations in Paris and the surrounding Île-de-France region. Rental rates have not been set yet, but city officials estimate that each half-hour will cost approximately €5, or $6, with an additional monthly subscription cost of €15."


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    "…Subscribers to the program will be able to pick up a car from any rental stand, without a reservation and drop it off at another stand at the journey’s end…[Like Vélib’, Autolib’ is] part of Mr. Delanoë’s larger crusade against what he calls the “hegemony” of the automobile, offering environmentally friendly solutions to the city center’s traffic problems.

    "Where Velib’ proposes bicycles, however, Autolib’ will raise the stakes, offering users brand new, high-cost electric vehicles…Bill Moore, the editor in chief of EVWorld [said]…vandalism [and especially trafficking in the €14,600 lithium-ion batteries], in particular, could menace the project’s economic viability…"


    click to enlarge

    "Nonetheless, Mr. Moore believes the technology is ready for large-scale production…Renault, of France…[will] start mass commercial production of electric cars next year…The design and production of electric vehicles is just one of many operational and technical challenges facing Autolib’. Other major issues that still have to be resolved include the installation of a battery charging infrastructure, the development of sufficiently reliable batteries, and the availability of parking spaces in the city’s congested streets…

    "There is no doubt that the Autolib’ plan still has several kinks to straighten out: still, it remains a useful venture that should provide valuable pointers to the future development of electric vehicle technology, Mr. Moore said…While car-sharing in North America and Europe has really taken off in recent years, electric vehicles remain a relatively new subplot in the story…[M]embership in car-sharing programs rose 117 percent in North America between 2007 and 2009…[The trend is expected] to continue over the next 5 to 10 years, with membership projected to reach 4.4 million in North America and 5.5 million in Europe by 2016…"

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