The French capital city of Paris has officially kicked off its Earth-friendly electric-car-for-hire scheme, rolling out battery "bubble cars" on Sunday and potentially sparking a revolution in transport.

Hot on the wheels of Velib – Paris' self-service bicycle scheme – comes Autolib, which city officials claim is the world's only self-service urban transport scheme of its type.

As with the 20,000 bicycles at hundreds of Velib stations throughout the city, enrolled locals wishing to get from point A to point B can soon drive an electric Bollore Bluecar from a starting location to a drop-off point at one of the soon-to-be thousands of city-wide stations.

On Sunday, a line of zero-emissions Bluecars hit the streets for a two-month trial ahead of Autolib's official launch in December. By 2013, Autolib is expected to have up to 5,000 eco-friendly Bluecars stationed at more than 1,000 locations across the city. The aim of the scheme is to slash noise and air pollution, as well as to reduce traffic congestion by discouraging private ownership of vehicles. Getting behind the wheel of a Bluecar will cost drivers anywhere between four and eight euros ($5.32 to $10.65 U.S. at the current exchange rate) per half hour, on top or a membership fee of 10 euros ($13.32) per day or 144 ($192) euros for a year. Hit the jump to catch video of the Bluecars rolling into town.


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  • 17 Comments
      • 6 Months Ago
      I'm just wondering, if this were available in the US, what would folks be prepared to pay for this with its 160 mile range?
      electronx16
      • 6 Months Ago
      Too bad the article shows pictures of the original good looking Pininfarina design rather than the horrid contraption that became the production model.
        • 6 Months Ago
        @electronx16
        I don't know about a horrid contraption, but like most hire cars it has lost the fancy bits.
      • 6 Months Ago
      I'd like to see some versions offering more cargo space, perhaps with only two seats, as if I were a customer as well as using it to pick up grandma and the kids for either of whom public transport might be inconvenient I would be using this to pick up goods that would not easily go on a bus or train, I suspect that the interiors of these may see some hard use, and a van version would save some of that.
        EVSUPERHERO
        • 6 Months Ago
        I would pay the same price as the Leaf for this car, though it is a bit diminutive, comparably. Give me the 60 mile extra range instead of Leaf size and accoutrements.
      • 6 Months Ago
      It's good to see the much anticipated BlueCar on production and ready-to-drive. I guess it was expected that Bolloré production version was going to be somewhat different from what Pininfarina originally designed it to be. Now the VIPV (Vehicle-Integrated Photovoltaics) are removed and the overall styling seems to have got some changes as well. Most of the car is quite original, but some aspects remind too much of a moped car or quadricycle (e.g. the downgraded lights). The most important function seems to be that downgraded details aside, the car got some truly positive feedback from the everyday people testing it. Unfortunately, je ne parle pas français.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 6 Months Ago
      finally some life from blucar. just a shame that the production car is much less attractive than the concept in the pictures above. as you can see when ABG adds the videos to the article
      EZEE
      • 6 Months Ago
      $192 for a year? Really? Must be some catch...I mean...the 1/2 hour price makes sense, but the yearly rate - that isn't even a monthly payment. If that was the case, I assume everyone on the planet would like a yearly membership. Just using it 15 times over the course of a year would beat the daily rate.
        ramanoir
        • 6 Months Ago
        @EZEE
        The two are most likely cumulative. The yearly fee is the membership. The hourly fee is the usage fee.
        • 6 Months Ago
        @EZEE
        The finances are supposed to work because one car serves lots of people. They aim for 80,000 monthly customers for 5,000 cars, so they get 144 Euros each from them, total 11,520,000 Euros/year plus the half hourly hire rates for actually using them, and casual users who join for the day. They aim for break even by year 7, so will have raised about 15,000 Euros per car to pay for the car ex-battery. The per half hour usage charge is presumably set to cover the battery depreciation and electricity, and the logistics of moving vehicles from where they are dropped to where they are needed.
          • 6 Months Ago
          They are to be left in ranks, I believe, and presumably an indicator says how full it is. For most use I would imagine that it will not matter too much if it is partly discharged, as they have a 160 mile range and typically driving around in the city 30 miles is about it in a day. Making sure they are fully topped up should only matter to those going on a run somewhere. I love French political incorrectness. Merde a les cons!
          EVSUPERHERO
          • 6 Months Ago
          160 mile range? Damn those Frenchies don't mess around. 160 miles, now that is a serious EV like mine, only much better because it is massed produced, the people that made my car do not work at the lame corp called Lion Motors. Guess the head cheese was having trouble paying them. My car is a little more complicated than it should have been and Lion Motors did not have enough money to make things auto grade but instead hobby grade so the life of smaller components like the BMS only lasts two years or less. The joys of bleeding edge, underfunded small corp technology.
          EVSUPERHERO
          • 6 Months Ago
          What if they drop them off with a dead battery? The next guy gets into go and can not because the battery is dead. "The aim of the scheme is to slash noise and air pollution, as well as to reduce traffic congestion by discouraging private ownership of vehicles." What? No pedestrian sound warnings? Maybe the pre existing, anti EV car corps in France don't have as much lobbying power to get such a pro noise pollution law on their books. Good on them if this is the case.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 6 Months Ago
      two more videos here http://www.youtube.com/user/autolibfr#p/a/u/1/Zj7_cvxaasA
      • 6 Months Ago
      Not too bad and good environmental leadreship- and business prospects too
      Ryan
      • 6 Months Ago
      Just like with Velib, they need to make it easy for foreigners and tourists to use. It is a big problem with their Velib bikes there that they don't allow tourists to easily get a card, and use the bike for 4 or 6 hours to pedal around Paris and go places where there aren't bike racks. Montpellier did it much better. 1 Euro for 4 hours, 2 Euros for 8 hours. And you bring the bike back to where you got it from. We were able to ride it out to the countryside to some wineries and aqueducts.
      Dave
      • 6 Months Ago
      No thanks. I'll take the metro. (if i ever go back to paris)
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