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Electric cars start in Paris

Mayor launches new fleet of pollution-free, silent vehicles

A FLEET of electric cars will be taking to the streets of Paris today as the capital launches its Autolib’ car hire scheme across 46 communes.

The move comes four years after the Vélib’ bike-hire scheme was introduced and will see 250 Bluecars available in 250 sites. By next year it is planned that the service will see 3,000 cars on 1,100 sites across the capital and the surrounding area.

They will cost e5 for the first 30 minutes and tariffs after that will be at e4 for half an hour. They can be picked up from one station and then dropped off at another one for recharging.

Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoë says the Autolib’ will soon make its mark on the city and could take the place of five private vehicles. It will make it easier for people to get around - those who need a car for a work assignment, to transport children or to carry a heavy load - and cut pollution. "Each Autolib’ is 100% electric: that means there is no greenhouse gas emissions - and they are silent, which will help in the fight against one of the city's worst pollutions. Noise."

However, the city's taxi drivers say they will make their mark in another way: by luring people away from public transport which will lead to more traffic jams. The drivers have already taken court action to try to get the scheme aborted.

Delanoë said that they had tried to address the problems of vandalism which had hit the Vélib’ scheme by designing the Bluecars with as resistant materials as possible and by including repairs and insurance in the running costs of up to e3,000 a year per car.

The scheme will also lead to the creation of 1,000 jobs.

A website is available, in English, at www.autolib.eu

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