“Owning your own car is just so passé”, says Annick Lepetit, in charge of transport at city hall. Over a quarter of Parisians agree with her, and would be prepared to give up their car.
The Bluecar costs from €10 to €144, with daily, weekly and annual subscriptions available, considering car owner’s in Paris spend an average of 5,000 Euros it could quickly become an affordable alternative for short journeys.
But there’s more to Autolib than answering a cash-strapped car owners prayers. The Blucar’s promise is to cut noise and air pollution. Fantastic for the environment, perhaps not for the pedestrian, with no noise to warn you it’s zipping about.
Bertrand Delanoë, the Socialist mayor who devised both Autolib and is building upon the success of Velib, the cities bicycling-renting service.
At first 66 of the compact vehicles will be available at 33 charging stations, expected to expand to 3,000 vehicles and more than 1,000 stations by the end of 2012.
The car has been described as a “bubble car”, with 4 seats and a range of 250km before it’ll need re-charging. Each car is fitted with GPS to stop you getting lost – and perhaps to allow Autolib HQ to keep track of you. Plus a big blue button to press if you prang it. This raises the alarm and someone rushes to your car from a control centre.
So what’s not to like? Will the scheme be coming to London? A spokesperson for Vincent Bolloré (whose company has reportedly invested €1bn in the Bluecar), wouldn’t confirm or deny, but the electric cars could be just the solution to our noisy traffic clogged roads.