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Electric Hire Cars Become Competition for Velib

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PARIS, France – The French capital will get 4,000 electric hire cars to expand on the successful bike pick up scheme. Not everybody is happy with this new transport system. Environmentalists have offered the plans a lukewarm greeting, claiming the scheme could undermine

Electric Hire Cars Become Competition for Velib

PARIS, France – The French capital will get 4,000 electric hire cars to expand on the successful bike pick up scheme. Not everybody is happy with this new transport system. Environmentalists have offered the plans a lukewarm greeting, claiming the scheme could undermine the popularity of Vélib bicycles in Paris and add to congestion.

Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoë has announced he intends to extend the plans for a self-service electric car scheme, doubling the number of vehicles called Autolib available to 4,000 at 700 sites across the city.

The scheme, which was originally sounded earlier this year during the Socialist Mayor’s re-election campaign, is intended to be modelled on the successful Vélib on-street hire-bicycles initiative which has seen bicycle use in Paris soar.

Delanoë said that the scheme could ‘revolutionise’ transport in the city. “There will be a computerised system which allows you as soon as you collect the car to announce where you will drop it off, so there will be a parking space available.”

It has not been decided yet which cars will be used, but according to reports earlier this year two models with French origins, BlueCar and Cleanova, are being considered. The BlueCar project was started by French battery manufacturer Bolloré and the first vehicles are due to go on sale in mid-2009. These have been built and styled by Italian firm Pininfarina. Meanwhile Cleanova, developed by France’s Dassault Group, uses the body of the small Renault Kangoo van.

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