Autolib Brings Car Sharing to Paris
Set to launch next fall, the Autolib program is essentially a cross between the Vélib system, and Zipcar. The initiative calls for 3,000 battery-powered cars to be scattered across 1,000 self-service charging stations located throughout the city. Anyone with a valid driver's license can pick up a so-called 'Bluecar' at the hiring point, and drop it off at any other station. Subscribers will have to pay roughly $15 per month, and about $6.50 for the first half-hour of use. The next half-hour will cost them about $5.30, with each subsequent 30-minute period priced at nearly $8.00.
This pricing scheme is intended to encourage short trips, which is exactly what the Bluecar is made for. Designed by Italian automaker Pininfarina, the car is powered by a lithium metal polymer battery, which allows it to travel up to 155 miles without being charged. It also comes with a GPS navigation system to help users find their way around the city's labyrinthine back alleys, and an emergency call button, just in case a quotidian street protest takes a turn for the violent. The only downside, however, is its speed, which tops out at a paltry 80 mph. But then again, if you're driving down the Boulevard St. Germain, you'd probably wanna take your time, anyway.