An imaginative new transport scheme was launched today in Paris, France, where small bubble-shaped, four-seater ‘Bluecars’ took to the streets. The Autolib service is the world’s first electric car-hire scheme and the innovative idea was the brainchild of Parisian mayor Bertrand Delanoë, according to the Guardian
The bubble car itself was designed by Italian coach-builder Pininfarina, NDTV
reports. The Bolloré group developed the Lithium Metal Polymer batteries whilst the investment of over 100 million euros was provided by businessman Vincent Bolloré. The City of Paris has providing funding to the tune of 35 million euros to provide rental stations for the cars.
Today’s launch introduced 60 Bluecars to the city, with plans to extend this number to 250 by December 5, and to 2,000 by next summer. Vincent Bolloré told France 24
“We estimate that the project will be profitable from the seventh year. An industrial group like ours is used to (its investments) turning a profit from the sixth or seventh year.”
The same technology is being implemented in buses designed for other French cities.
It is hoped that the electric cars will result in less traffic congestion in Paris whilst providing the advantages of reduced carbon emissions and noise pollution. If the scheme is a hit with visitors the Bolloré group hopes to expand the sale of their electric cars outside France.
The ‘Bluecars’ can travel at a speed of up to 80 mph and a single charge will cover 250 miles of driving. The novelty factor alone should ensure that the cars are soon seen gliding silently around the French capital.