The City Hall of Paris loves bikes and electric cars. Vélib’, the bike-sharing program that started back in 2007, now has 7,800 bikes stolen and 11,800 vandalized, but still the Bertrand Delanoi«, the mayor, loves this kind of approach, just because the idea in itself is interesting – swipe a card, take your bike, do your job and return it. The same will go for electric cars, seemingly.
Delanoi« wants to debut Autolib’, the new electric car rental program, as early as September 2011. The winning company that will provide the service will be chosen this December by local authorities who will have to pick from Bolloré, a logistics and transport business with interests in electric vehicle development; Veolia Transport Urbain, a public transport operator; and a consortium of Avis car rental, the Paris transit authority RATP, the French national railroad company SNCF and the car parking operator Vinci.
A lithium-ion battery pack is estimated to cost around €14,600, and could be a tempting resource for vandals, says Bill Moore, chief editor at EVWorld.com, to NY Times. The program, which will operate with 3,000 electric cars located in 1,000 parking lots in Paris and iÃ…Â½le-de-France region, will feature a tax of €5 per half hour, with a supplementary subscription of €15. It’s not mentioned if tourists will also have the privilege to ride these cars, but if they will, the taxes will probably be higher, to cover for the risks associated with vandalism and theft.
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, says Bill Moore. “I think that lessons will be learned and adaptations will be made,” he said. “But it will really be a positive step forward for Paris, and I think that a lot of cities will look to Paris and follow Paris as an example.”
Even with vandalism and theft threatening its existence from the very beginning, the idea of car sharing is interesting, mostly because in the first phase will become a tourist attraction (who wouldn’t like to try an electric car?), and secondly it will provide an independent means of public transportation. People will eventually be able to sense the taste of electric cars, raise the demand and make them proliferate more and more, ultimately taking over the gas-powered ones.