Paris Launches Self-Service Electric Car Rental Network

Four years after the launch of the Vélib, Paris’ self-service bicycle network, Autolib is debuting in Paris. A world’s first, the network of self-service, 100 percent electric vehicles throughout the city is designed for the use of Parisians and visitors. Ecological, practical and accessible to everyone, Autolib offers another way of getting around and making the city cleaner and more pleasant.

With no noise, no emissions and no smell, the 3,000 Bluecars developed specifically for Autolib are parked at 1,100 stations and are accessible 24/7 thanks to a centralized help system. They are little four-seater urban cars with an automatic gear box. The LMP (Lithium Metal Polymer) batteries, also developed for Autolib, store five times more energy than traditional batteries, with an autonomy of 180 miles around town.

Subscription is simple and quick. Whether by Internet or in one of the Autolib areas, all clients have to do is scan a valid piece of identity and driver’s license, and present a credit card for the guarantee (which is not charged). Then, everything is self-service — the pick-up of the vehicle with the subscription card, the starting-up of the car, and its return, as well as plugging it in for recharging. Young drivers and foreign visitors are welcome; they simply have to present a driver’s license and a valid piece of identity.

Subscription prices are designed to suit everyone’s travel needs. The one-day (24 hours) Découverte costs 10 euros (USD12.72) or 15 euros (USD19.06) for a week. Then the actual rental charge costs 7 euros (USD8.91) for the first half-hour, 6 euros (USD7.64) for the second and 8 euros (USD10.18) for every extra half hour. Finally, an iPhone application makes it possible to take out a subscription, access the map of the stations and availability, and obtain a mine of information on the service.