Monday, December 20, 2010

Paris: Electric Car Sharing Pioneer

Going beyond its already successful bicycle rental program, the city of Paris will launch a new electric car sharing program next year. It's great to see the idea expand from bikes to cars. Paris will be the first major city with such a program. The new program, called Autolib ("automobile" "liberte") is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 22,000 tons a year. The program will build 1,400 rental and re-charging stations in Paris and surrounding communities. Autolib is set up as a government/private industry partnership with Avis, the French National Railway company (SNCF) and the Paris Transit authority (RATP).

As the wave of electric cars is mainstreamed, and the suburban/metropolitan traffic congestion increases, I can envision this car sharing model becoming more popular and widespread in other cities. The convenience and cost (likely cost is approx. $6 to $9 per half hour) will likely appeal to tourists and residents who need a transportation solution that is free from car ownership.