Paris, Australia Plan Velib-syle Public Electric Car Networks
Electric cars seem like a great idea, but its hard to believe they'll ever really catch on with the driving public without some serious incentives. Officials in France and Australia, however, think they have it figured out: they plan to launch low-priced electric car sharing networks modeled after the wildly successful bike-sharing program Velib. Autolib will station 4,000 battery-powered electric cars in and around Paris, with users paying a monthly membership fee of between 20 and 30 euros and rental fees of between four to five euros per hour for the cars. To go along with the rollout, the city plans to install 1,400 electric charging stations, so you'll never be far from the juice you need to keep going. (After all, electric cars can only operate for an hour or two before they bonk.) A similar effort is going on in Australia, where an outfit called Better Place is working with a Renault-Nissan alliance to introduce electric cars, charging spots, battery exchanges, and renewable energy technology to the good people Down Under. When will all of this be completed? It depends on who you ask. French officials claim their system will be up by 2010 and the Aussies are predicting a 2012 launch, but it's doubtful that automakers will have fleets of acceptable vehicles ready in that time frame. But in any case, it's nice to see zero-emission vehicles get a little encouragement, and we look forward to zipping around Paris or Perth in a snazzy electric car.
[Photo: EV World]