October 5th, 2011
First it was bicycles, and since this mode of transportation has increased in popularity in several European and North American cities, why not electric cars?
Such will be the case as Paris launches its first car-sharing project – entitled Autolib – as it aims to clear traffic-clogged boulevards. (The Autolib program is a play on liberté, the French word for liberty.) The program began on Sunday, October 2 and there are currently 66 vehicles available at numerous stations throughout the city. An additional 184 vehicles will be added by December.
The two-month pilot project will allow motorists to hire the battery-powered Bluecar for as little as 30 minutes at a nominal cost. The cars are manufactured by Pininfarina, famous for shaping Ferraris and Maseratis.
During a test drive in a populous central district of Paris, the stripped-down vehicle felt like a high-powered golf cart, an impression reinforced by its silent motor. Even on cobblestone streets, the Bluecar is smooth and easy to handle in the city, though a ride on the highway might take it out of its comfort zone.
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