Since diving into the deep end when it comes to energy issues, almost every day sees new fascinating concepts, approaches, and technologies. Fascinating … exciting … even hope inspiring at times. And, as well, as the passion builds, so many of these are truly Energy COOL.
One of the first Energy COOLs focused on bike-sharing programs as Paris looked to enter the game with Vélib. Less than a year in, the judgment on Vélib: Roaring Success. And, Paris is launching into a new venture: Voiturelib’ (free car).
The Automobiles-en-Libre-Service will
start with 2,000 electric-powered vehicles that subscribers can drive off without booking at dozens of sites 24 hours a day and then leave anywhere in the city.
While Vélib bikes can be used for free (for short trips), the electric cars will have to be paid for, but for as little as a few euros per hour. The cars will enable more Parisans to go ‘car-less’, simply hiring out an electric car when they need to carry a large load of groceries home — and to do so at far less expense and more control than hiring a taxi.
Now, Vélib is mainly paid for through advertising and it is uncertain just how much of Voiturelib’ will be covered (financially and physically) by advertising.
Paris’ Mayor, Bertrand Delanöe, is “France’s most popular Socialist and a likely presidential candidate”, planning to make Voiturelib’ part of his coming reelection bid. One of his opponents, from Sarkozy’s UPM, has a plan for a 2,500 self-service car program. Thus, it looks like such programs have popularity across the French political spectrum.
Vélib has been extraordinarily popular in Paris, with the 20,000 bikes “having already been used for 11 million trips” in less than a year. They provided key service during the November transit strikes. Not all is rosy, with a battle between the Paris government and the private company (JC Decaux) about bike maintenance and adequately moving bikes around the city to deal with saturation around commuting times.
Now, to give credit where credit is due, Delanöe is already walking the walk, using an electric Citroën Saxo for his transportation.
Hat Tips to:
Related: See Going Electric: French Postal Delivery System which discusses the French postal system’s adoption of the Cleanova, which is one of the two car options for the program.