Could Car-Sharing Put More Electric Vehicles On The Road?

The success of Paris' program has helped to make it an EV mecca, and similar programs are now being planned for other locations, including Indianapolis. However, it's unclear whether they will increase EV popularity overall.

What's the Latest Development?

In the two years since French conglomerate Bolloré launched Autolib, a local car-sharing program featuring its specially-designed Bluecar electric vehicle (EV), Parisians have helped make their city one of the world's most EV-friendly locations. Now Bolloré wants to replicate that success with a program in Lyon scheduled to start next month, and they plan to add other cities, including Indianapolis, in the near future. Although the Paris program has yet to turn a profit, the company is willing and able to "[take] daring risks to make things happen," says 6T research director Nicolas Louvet.

What's the Big Idea?

With 1,800 EVs in the Paris fleet, Autolib is the largest of several programs currently in existence, all of which "help EVs prove themselves to the public," according to International Energy Agency deputy executive director Richard Jones. However, despite the massive increase in car-sharing in recent years, the future growth of EVs will depend on several factors. One is cost: EVs are more expensive to operate than traditional cars, so local governments may have to provide subsidies. Interestingly, car sharing advocates say that programs like Autolib, which are designed for short spur-of-the-moment trips, won't necessarily help with the larger goal of reducing car use entirely, since users are still keeping their own cars for longer trips.

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