French city launches car-sharing service with tiny Toyota EVs

The City of Grenoble, France has launched a unique car-sharing service featuring ultra-compact EVs and close integration into the local public transport system. Cité lib by Ha:mo (for Harmonious Mobility), which is patterned after a system that Toyota has been piloting in Japan, opens October 1 for a three-year trial period.

Toyota is providing 70 vehicles, and a glance at them makes it clear that this is no ordinary car-sharing service. The COMS is a tiny 4-wheel single-seater, and the i-ROAD is a 3-wheel two-seater with “Active Lean technology” that’s designed to be as agile as a scooter with the comfort of a car.

These tiny EVs (which aren’t sold in the States) seem to fit into Toyota’s overall strategy – according to the company, “electric vehicles are especially suited to short-distance, urban journeys, while hybrids, plug-in hybrids and fuel cell vehicles will prove more practical for longer trips.”

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Sodetrel will install and operate 27 charging stations with a total of 120 charging points for the project. Each station is located close to a tram, bus or train stop. The vehicles and charging stations are connected to the IT infrastructure of Grenoble’s transport network, offering both route planning and online/mobile app reservations.

Users can pick up a vehicle and drop it off at any station, without having to return it to the original pickup point. They will be charged only for the ride, which can cost as little as 2 euros for a 15 minute drive.

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“Grenoble draws its strength from its capacity to accompany emerging initiatives and turn them into successes for everyone’s benefit,” said Deputy Mayor Jacques Wiart. “By proposing a new clean mobility solution that complements bicycling and public transport, the trial ‘Cité lib by Ha:mo’ is in direct line with this tradition.”

“The project is only a start, but we believe it has the potential to encourage our citizens’ active participation in the creation of tomorrow’s mobility, and it goes in the direction we want to take,” said Christophe Ferrari, President of local transit authority Grenoble-Alpes Metropole.

 

 “This project came to fruition because all of its partners have the same aspiration – we all want to be a part of creating a future urban mobility. Urban mobility solutions will be a key growth area for Toyota in the future,” says Toyota Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada.

 

Source: Toyota via Green Car Congress