The success of Bolloré’s Bluecar to the invitation to tender launched by Paris for Autolib' marks a new turning point for electric vehicles. Here is a presentation of the Autolib' Project and how it will be implemented in the future…
On the 16th December 2010, the mayor of Paris announced the winner of Autolib', his self-service hire car project.
It is the electric Bluecar, produced by the Bolloré group, which has finally won the market in the French capital. A victory against the consortium Avis-RATP development SNCF-Vinci Park and the VTLIB Véolia urban transport group; the other two companies remained in the competition since the invitation to tender was launched in February 2010.
As soon as the scheme is introduced, which is planned for Autumn 2011, 3,000 self-service vehicles will be available, stationed at 1,000 hire points. 700 hire points will be in the city centre of Paris (including 300 in the métro), and 300 in the main surrounding towns (such as Boulogne-Billancourt, Nanterre and Issy-les-Moulineaux).
This is a significant step for the manufacturer Vincent Bolloré who unveiled the Bluecar in 2005 at the Geneva Motor Show. Produced in Italy by the manufacturer Pininfarina, the latest version of the vehicle will be presented – customized for Autolib' use.
The Bluecar, being hyper-urban, is a tiny four-seater car with three doors. It can be recharged in four hours, can travel up to 250 km (155 miles) and has a maximum speed of 130 km/h (80 mph).
The car will also offer GPS which will, in particular, allow hire points to be found in order to return the car, a USB socket to connect a mobile phone, 3G cards and GSM-EDGE, as well as an emergency call button in case of an accident.
Offering alternative means of transport to get around town
Like the Vélib' system, Autolib' also offers an alternative means of transport, in particular, to using your own car by offering an electric vehicle self-hire service.
After subscribing, it will take you “exactly two minutes” according to the manufacturer to take a vehicle and to return the vehicle to another station after use.
A reservation system will enable you to preselect your car from any hire station you choose; you can also choose in advance where you want to return the car. Furthermore, the cost of using Autolib' will not correspond to the distance travelled, but instead to how long the car has been borrowed for.
These practical aspects will make the service accessible to the general public. There are also plans to allow tourists to hire Autolib' cars directly from their hotel.
Available from Autumn 2011, the Bluecar electric vehicle self-service hire could have a significant impact on the environment of Metropolitan France by using clean energy and limiting the use of own vehicles.
What’s more, it offers a great opportunity to get to know electric vehicles in general. Let’s hope that, as with Vélib', Parisians will really show their passion for this new scheme.