Car sharing services, which allow drivers to rent vehicles for a few hours at a time, are popular in Europe’s cities. They’re a natural fit for EVs, because most users will drive only short distances, the cars can be recharged at the central pick-up/drop-off locations, and of course EVs reduce air and noise pollution in crowded megalopoli. A service called Car2go put 300 Smart fortwo EVs on the streets of Amsterdam in November, and car sharing services in Germany and Switzerland have also begun phasing in EVs.
Paris will be the next city to see the light, as car sharing service Autolib’ powers up today with a fleet of 250 BlueCar EVs. The company has plans to put a couple thousand more EVs into service over the next two years. Autolib’ is organized along the lines of the successful bicycle-sharing service called Velib’. Users can sign up for a daily, weekly or yearly subscription, make reservations online, and pick up the cars by simply swiping a card. Autolib’ has installed a network of 1,200 charging stations all over the Paris metro area, which are also available to private EV owners for a yearly fee.
The BlueCar, built by a joint venture of Italian car designer Pininfarina and French conglomerate Bolloré, debuted at last October’s Paris Motor Show. The five-door hatchback uses an innovative lithium metal polymer battery, and has a range of about 155 miles.
Image: PININFARINA S.P.A.