In the current economic climate, its been a bit rough for those that want to go green on a budget. Not everyone can...Read the rest of this article
Paris is the city of light, love, and electric cars
by Kathryn Robbins on December 18, 2010
Paris has always been known as one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world due to its place in fashion, food, and even tourism. But big cities come with big traffic problems and a new plan may reduce the city’s carbon emissions through cheap electric car rentals.
After finding success with a bike rental program called Vélib', the city hopes to build a similar program for residents that feel that public transportation doesn’t meet their needs. Instead of choosing electric and hybrid headliners such as the Leaf or Prius, the city chose the bug like Blue Car made by French firm Bolloré, to supply them with a a reasonably priced electric car.
Named “Autolib',” the rental scheme is pretty much the same as Vélib', but offers residents four wheels instead of two. Starting in October 2011, Paris and its forty one suburbs will host 1,000 “docking stations” where drivers with a valid license can rent a Bolloré Blue Car. Rentals can be arranged in person at a station, online, or by telephone. Fees vary by rental time and the first thirty minutes costs just €7 or about $9.23. When you are done with the car, you simply drop it off at your nearest Autolib' station.
While the Blue Car may not end up at a Formula One race, it has some serious battery power. A lithium metal polymer battery that was created by Bolloré’s Italian partner, Pininfarina, has a 155 mile range and can be juiced up in just four hours. The battery is also solid state which means it has a longer lifespan and is predicted to last up to 124,274 miles.
The majority of Parisians don’t own cars, a fact that makes the Autolib' program sound very promising. However, they need to sort out a number of details before they launch next year. Vélib' may have taken off in recent months, but they had a huge problem with bike theft and even vandalism. Pranksters hung their rented bikes from street lamps, tossed them in the Seine River, and some of the bikes popped up in Africa and Eastern Europe. Organizers claim that each Blue Car will be rigged to prevent theft but in this digital age all you need is a laptop and curiosity to meddle with technology. In addition, anyone with a real (or perhaps fake) drivers license can rent one of the cars.