Paris launches electric car-sharing program image

The city of Paris has launched an electric car-sharing program to cut air and noise pollution on its streets, the Associated Press announces.

The program, which made its debut on Monday, is called Autolib and it is built on the success of the city’s bike-rental scheme. City officials want the self-service e-cars to become a Paris landmark like the Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame Cathedral.

Paris officials say the program is the biggest of its kind: 250 vehicles hit the road on Monday, with a further 2,000 expected by next summer and another 3,000 within the next two years. The car chosen for the job is the four-seat compact Bluecar, a collaboration of Italian car designer Pininfarina and French industrial group Bollore, which developed the lithium metal polymer battery that powers the car.

To use the Autolib system, users need a valid ID, driver’s licence and credit car before signing up online or by a videoconference with a customer service representative at one of 40 special glassed-in shelters in Paris and suburban areas. Standard subscriptions cost €10 a day, €15 a week and €144 a year. Beyond that, hourly fees vary from €4 to €9 based on the rental plan, with users’ cards to be further charged in case of damage to the vehicles.