Autolib-Boller-Electric Car Sharing-ParisAutolib Electric Car Sharing Station in Paris at Place des États-Unis

While New Yorkers continue to debate about Citibike (New York Magazine has a great Venn diagram and recap of the vitriol, with conservatives likening the bike share system to totalitarian policies), socialist Paris continues chugging along with awesome public programs by Mayor Bertrand Delanoë (like sheep mowing grass at the Municipal Archives). Autolib, the electric car sharing program, was launched in December 2011 (4 years after the launch of Velib, the bike share program) and will soon reach 2 million rentals, according to Paris’ Deputy Mayor. As of February this year boasts 65,000 subscribers and 4,000 charging stations.

For those who own electric cars, you can even use the stations to charge up your own vehicles, as we saw today, for 180 euros per year:

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It’s super simple to use. Basically, subscribe online, receive a badge in the mail and go. The system was a business gamble by the French billionaire Vincent Bolloré. According to the Chicago Tribune:

His Bolloré group has invested two billion euros in electric vehicle technology which still accounts for a tiny proportion of car sales worldwide.

The four-seat mini sedans, styled by Ferrari- and Maserati-designer Pininfarina, have become a familiar sight parked in bays along the streets of Paris. For Bolloré, the project is an opportunity to show off the cars and win export orders for their lithium-metal-polymer battery

Bolloré uses Autolib as marketing, which costs him 50 million euros a year to run, with the city of Paris subsidizing an additional 35 million euros. The city of Paris also has utopian visions for Autolib, hoping it will change the relationship between the suburbs of Paris (the banlieues) and the center.

This is not to say Autolib doesn’t have critics, particularly in political circles, but the Autolib movement is spreading, and demand is beginning to outstrip supply and maintenance. in some places Bolloré also has plans for Bordeaux and Lyon, which will not require any subsidization from the cities.

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2013 rates in Paris are as follows: A one year subscription is 144 euros (12 euros/month), a one month only subscription is 30 euros, 15 euros for one week and 10 euros for a day. These don’t include consumption rates which start at 5 euros for the half hour. There’s even a group sharing option for up to 4 people at 165 euros/month. Business rates also available for larger numbers of people.

Get in touch with the author @untappedmich

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