Paris may be known the world over more for its beautiful architecture and fashion. However, it has also been pioneering one of the most important aspects of modern city infrastructure, the public transport system.
Besides the super efficient train and bus network, the French capital had started the world's largest bicycle sharing system called the Velib. Now, they have gone a step up with Autolib, the world's first and largest electric car sharing system, whose public trials started from Sunday.
Green wheels: One of the Paris Bluecars at the Autolib pick-up centre.
As of now, there are 66 Autolib cars on the road for free trials across 10 stations in the city. By December, when it will be launched, this number will reach 250 cars.
Speaking to MiD DAY, Morald Chibout, the director general of Autolib said, "Anyone with a valid driving licence can use the Autolib to drive in the city for a certain fee. One can pick up the car and park it at any station across the city. The cars will be available 24/7 throughout the year. This project is significant as these cars have zero emissions and also because electric technology represents the future of automobiles," he added.
The project, which was developed and will be operated by a French firm Bollore, involved an investment of euro 1 billion.
What is even more impressive is the performance of the car. The first thing that strikes you is how silent it is. Even during ignition and after the car starts, you hardly hear anything.
This correspondent drove the car on the streets of Paris and was also impressed by its effortless handling and acceleration.
The car, which has automatic transmission with forward, reverse and neutral positions, has a top speed of 130 km.
The interiors consist of GPS navigation system, radio and a big blue button, which the occupants can use to connect to the Autolib call centre in case of emergency.