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Paris Launches One-Way Car-Sharing

Autolib offers compact, all-electric vehicles modeled after Velib
relates to Paris Launches One-Way Car-Sharing
Benoit Tessier / Reuters

The big news out of Paris this weekend was that the city's long-awaited car-sharing service, dubbed Autolib, is at last up and running in a testing phase. There are now about 60 electric "Bluecars" scattered across ten Parisian car-sharing stations, but that's just a fraction of the final vision: By 2013, city officials hope to have 3,000 to 5,000 vehicles stationed at approximately 1,000 locations. 

Paris is touting Autolib as a first of its kind in the world, and it is, but not for the reasons we've been reading about in initial European media reports. Most of the coverage so far has focused on the fleet being all-electric, an army of compact, extremely quiet vehicles that The Guardian has already suggested could pose a danger to pedestrians ("Never mind stop, look, listen. If you get flattened by a Bluecar, you won't have heard it coming.") But quieter electric and hybrid vehicles aren't exactly new, and plenty of car-share services have been offering them for some time now. Will there soon be a lot more electric vehicles on the road in Paris thanks to Autolib? Probably, and certainly the infrastructure needed to keep them charged is of an impressive scale.