Paris' Electric Car Autolib Takes Shape
By EV World
When Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë toured the Mondial de l'Automobile (Paris Auto Show), where electric cars were the center of attraction, he took time to explain the parameters of Autolib. The planned electric carshare program will incorporate some 4,000 battery electric cars, half of which will be stationed around the city, and the remaining 2,000 in its surrounding suburbs, with deployment to be complete by the end of 2010. That could prove to be a bit ambitious, according to reports French media, but Delanoë is moving forward. Neither Citroen nor Renault plan to have production versions of their battery electric cars ready in that time frame. Others, however, could be up to the task including some little-known manufacturers.
According the the Mayor, above all else, the cars must be 100% electric. They must be able to seat 4 passengers in comfort and safety. Their top speed should be at least 80 km/hr (50 mph) allowing them to also use the highways around the city. The Mayor did not specify what the driving range of the battery-powered vehicles should be, a key factor that will determine both their final price and, ultimately, public acceptance of the program.
The plan is to charge a monthly subscription to the service of between € 20 and € 30 ($27-40US) with an hourly rental fee of between € 4- € 5 ($5.50-6.70US).
A key part of Autolib, which is modeled after the Velib shared bicycle initiative in Paris, will also be the installation of some 1,400 charging stations, again half in Paris and half in the surrounding communities. While a number of outlying communities have expressed their support for the plan, some also raised concerns over the estimated €50,000 ($67,000US) price tag of reach of the charging stations. Mayor Delanoë agreed that the figure seems high, but is confident that competition among suppliers will help bring down the cost.
Additionally EdF, the French power agency, announced it would assist -- along with Renault -- in creation of the necessary charging network with some €400 million ($540US mil) in funding to come from the government. [See France Aims for Electric Car Recharging Network by 2011].
While no vehicles have yet been identified and the 2010 target would seem to preclude both Renault and Citroen, Le Parisien took it upon itself to suggest four possible contenders, three of which are featured below. The fourth, the Ligier X-Too featured above, wouldn't appear to meet the "four-passengers in comfort and safety" criteria without additional engineering changes.
Venturi CEO Gildo Pastor also told EV World that he is in talks with the city about providing a scaled down version of the firm's Eclectic electric car. The company is also in contention to provide electric versions of the Renault Kangoo to the the French postal service.
Public solicitations for vehicles and charging systems will be tendered in early 2009.
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