Largest electric car hire facility launched in Paris

Europe’s largest electric car hire facility has been launched in Paris this week. Autolib will allow subscribers to the new eco-friendly car hire scheme to rent electric powered 4-seater cars throughout the city of Paris at the cost of between €4-€9 an hour.

The green electric cars are powered by a lithium battery especially created and engineered by the private company behind the Autolib scheme. By 2013 the car rental service plans to have 3,000 of the eco-friendly cars available for hire at 1,200 locations throughout the city, many of which will be conveniently located close to public transport links. Autolib customers will be able to collect their hire car from one location and drop off the vehicle at any of the other rental spots throughout Paris.

The launch of the city wide electric car rental service follows a successful trial of 250 Bluecar electric cars in October. Paris is also home to a popular bike hire scheme, Velib, which was launched in 2007 and paved the way for similar schemes in other cities such as London which now has its successful Boris Bike hire service.

To hire one of the electric powered cars users must first subscribe to the scheme at a cost of approximately €144 a year. To subscribe, you simply need a valid driver’s licence and credit card and another form of ID. Once fully signed up, Autolib members can access vehicles by swiping their membership card on the window of an electric car which will automatically open the vehicle, inside they will find the key, and they’ll be free to drive off in the electric hire car.

However the scheme has not been welcomed by all in Paris, with those opposed to the service saying it will discourage use of the city’s public transport system.