Paris Brings Electric Cars to the People
Bless his heart, Paris' Bertrand Delanöe is trying to be one of those proactive mayors that introduces policies that can actually help both people and the environment. (He also wants to be one of those mayors that runs for president after establishing a good rep). His latest effort, after launching a progressive bike rental program and an attempt to bring free wifi to the entire city, is a new electric car rental service called Automobiles-en-Libre-Service. As is the case with his popular Vélib program, where cyclists can pick up and drop off bike rentals all over the city, Parisians who find themselves in need of transport can just go to one of the pickup stations 24 hours a day, rent an electric car, and drive off.
The fees will be cheap (a few euros per hour), and you never have to book a car in advance. It's like Smart Car, but they don't gouge you, and you're not destroying the planet with toxins. What more could one ask for? Well, as always, the critics have a few things to say.
One ridiculous criticism lobbied by Green Party politician Denis Baupin is that if renting cars becomes too easy, Parisians will give up their wonderful biking habits. Right. A more substantial problem is that cars are more expensive to maintain, so launching a program that's heavily subsidized by ads might not be feasible. When ads alone can't foot the bill, prices will go up, defeating the purpose of the entire program. This is probably true. However, Parisians should keep in mind that critics panned the Vélib program, and it's been used for 11 million trips (though one lady died, and the city is penalizing the ad agency in charge of maintenance). So why not give the guy a chance?
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