Labels: France

The city of Paris and 45 surrounding cities have implemented the first large scale elelctric car-sharing system in the world. Users can make use of one of the vehicles which run on a solid-state Lithium Metal Polymer battery with a 200 000 km life expenctancy. The scheme is expected to reduce congestion resulting for the use of private vehicles, as well as noise and emmissions. Autolib' is a measure taken to create a more liveable urban environment and offer a cost and environmentally firendly alternative to private car ownership.

Autolib’ is the first public electric vehicle-sharing service, developed at the scale of a large European metropolitan area. The service was implemented in October 2011 in Paris and 45 surrounding cities, and allows subscribers to make use of 100% electric cars to and from a number of stations installed in the metropolitan area. Due to the vehicles' exclusive use of electricity as a source of energy, they produce zero emissions, smell and noise while in use. One of the particularities of the system, particularly in comparison to traditional car rental schemes, is that the user must not necessarily return the vehicle to the point of departure.

The system was developed by Bolloré, which was selected as the official subcontractor by the City of Paris and surrounding municipalities. Bolloré is known for it experience as a producer of components for capacitor used to stock electricity. The vehicles used in the Autolib’ system, called Blue Cars, run on a solid-state Lithium Metal Polymer battery with a 200 000 km life expectancy. The battery is able to store up to five times more energy than a traditional battery of the same weight.

Barriers and Drivers

The most commonly cited barriers to the development of electric vehicles relate to uncertainty about costs, standards and perfomance, and supporting infrastructure. The price and cost differential between electric vehicles and conventional cars is indeed on of the major barriers to the market takeup of the former. Higher prices are mainly explained by the high cost of electric batteries and the absence of a quality premium on behalf of potential consumers. The performance and life expentancy of electric batteries are also still major cause for schepticism (OECD, 2011). Also as mentioned by an OECD report, "the lack of standardisation may prevent the emeergence of consollidation of a real market". FInally, the need for a comprehensive infrastructure for battery recharge also represents a major challenge to the take-up of electric vehicles.

The main dirvers on the other hand include oil depletion and increased environmental concerns. Increased regulatory measures, support policies and consumption incentives such as the French ' 'bonus-malus' scheme for car purchases have also led to the growth of the electric vehicle market.

Economic Performance

The Autolib' system represents an effective means of reducing the costs created by the use of individual means of transportation. It creates an affordable and conforrtable alternative to the purchase of private vehicles. At the same time, Autolib' is expected to reduce the number of vehicles on the streets of Paris and neighbouring cities, which may potentially lead to savings in transportation infrastructure.

Social Performance

The car sharing scheme is mean to create a more liveable environement for the citie's inhabitants. In addition, it provides a cost-friendly alternative to individual car ownership, especially for commuters having to travel important distances to and from their work places.

Environmental Impact

The 3 000 available Bluecars for rent are estimated to represent a reduction of approximately 22 500 privately owned vehicles or up to 164 500 000 fewer kilometres driven per day by traditional GHG emitting vehicles. This will allow for considerable reductions in GHG emission, as well as in noise and congestion reductions. Such a measure is meant to contribute to France's commitment to reduce GHG emmissions by 20% by 2020. In addition, it provides a means for developing a more healthy and confortable living environment in urban areas.

Further Information

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