Autolib: clean, green, chic and cheap

3 rates | Rate this article

Reviewed on 12/5/2011 | 3 Reviews

My Concierge Told Me

Paris launched today short-term car hire program

Et voila, it’s done, here comes Autolib! Today, Paris has launched an electric car-sharing scheme. They are called Bluecars although they are actually grey. You shouldn’t take this as a symbol: the new vehicles are clean, green, chic and cheap.

Autolib is built on the success of the city’s bike-rental scheme called Velib. Velib made it very easy to move around in Paris, as we explained in “No rocket science anymore”. Now Paris officials want Autolib as successful as its precursor. “Owning your own car”, says Annick Lepetit, in charge of transport at city hall, “is just so passé!”

Freedom and peace of mind

At present, there are 250 electric cars at 250 docking stations. But in June 2012 the fleet is supposed to count 1740 cars at 5,000 docking stations in Paris and dozens of suburban towns. It could be a true revolution in transport and bring users freedom and peace of mind. Other cities are already interested in the new Paris short-term rental program.

How does it work? Very easily actually. A prospective user will need a valid ID, driver’s license, of course, and credit card before signing up online or by a videoconference with real human being (not kidding), a customer service representative at one of the 40 shelters, which look a bit like Star Wars space toilets and will unfortunately never win a prize for urban architecture.

Cheaper than a cab

How much does it cost? Not that much. Standard subscriptions cost 10€ a day, 15€ a week and 144€ a year (132€ for families). Now add 5 € for the first half an hour of use, 4€ for the next and each supplementary half will cost you 6€. To avoid problems, you reserve your parking space when leaving the docking station.

Not for tourist?

Of course, it’s easier to get around by metro when you don’t really know the multiple one-way roads of Paris. But imagine you driving around Paris going where the wind blows you. Could be fun. When you’re planning to visit Versailles, autolib could be an alternative, too.

Only time will show how practicable the scheme is. If the cars are treated with the same lack of care as the famous velib-bicycles, the fleet probably will soon look like a scrap yard.

Photo: AFP, Thomas Samson
GD Star Rating
Autolib: clean, green, chic and cheap, 3.7 out of 5 based on 3 ratings

User reviews

  1. Gironeau 6 December 2011 Reply

    Interesting that Pininfarina/Bolloré is building the Bluecar and not Peugeot (iOn) or Renault (Z.E.)

    • martinam 7 December 2011

      Interesting? Well, Bolloré is Sarkozy’s buddy after all. Remember the trip on his yacht after the elction? They say, Bolloré was the only one who proposed assistance by real human beeings…

  2. Archana 28 April 2012 Reply

    Thierry M. Carabin dit :P our le velib, la note a e9te9 plus lourde qu’annonce9e pour la ville de Paris qui a du rettmere de l’argent sur le tapis.Pour autolib, il y a gros e0 parier que les cofbts annonce9s aujourd’hui seront e9galement de9passe9s.MAIS l’essentiel est ici : ce n’est pas au contribuable qu’il appartient de financer un syste8me de location de voitures.Si les chauffeurs de taxis et les loueurs de voiture de9posent une plainte pour concurrence de9loyale, je comprendrais qu’ils obtiennent l’annulation du contrat.EN PLUS, velib et autolib impliquent des privatisations partielles de la voie publique, ce qui est condamnable.D’ailleurs, e0 Paris, un particulier stationnant devant le porche de son garage est mis e0 l’amende pour ce motif !

Write a review