Azara Blog: Paris to introduce an electric car share scheme

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Date published: 2011/10/01

The BBC says:

Paris is launching its first car-sharing project as it aims to clear its traffic-clogged boulevards.

The backers hope the scheme will be a major boost for electric vehicles.

The Autolib system is intended to build on the success of the Velib bicycle-rental service, similar to that operating in many European cities.
Valentine de la Celle, a 30-year-old Parisian mother of two, does not own a car.

"We are doing building work at home at the moment and to take things to the tip I would have to hire a car, which is difficult," she told Reuters.

"But the scheme needs to be quick and simple, otherwise people will not use it."

Advocates of these kind of car share schemes (anywhere in the world) perpetually claim that one of the aims is to clear "traffic-clogged boulevards", and the BBC repeats this propaganda point without any critical analysis. And yet, who is most likely to take up this kind of scheme? Well, people like de la Celle, who currently does not have a car. If the scheme is any good, it will just add more cars to the road system, not fewer.

What the advocates really hope for, it seems, is that lots of people who own cars suddenly decide to get rid of them and join this scheme, and at the same time find the implementation of the scheme such a hassle that in the end they use the car much less than before. Of course de la Celle realises that instead the scheme ought to be "quick and simple".

It will be interesting to see if the Paris scheme somehow miraculously squares this circle. Of course the ruling elite might well square the circle some day by banning all other cars (excepting theirs, of course) from the city.

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