First Parisians were urged to get on their bikes with an innovative self-service cycle scheme. Now residents of the French capital and tourists who embraced the Vélib bicycle hire scheme will soon be able to zip around town in environmentally friendly electric cars for less than the price of the average bottle of vin de table.
The Autolib scheme, due to be introduced next autumn, will see 3,000 bubble-shaped, battery-powered cars stationed at 1,000 self-service hire points across the city and its suburbs.
The mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, has announced that the city authorities have selected a four-seat vehicle produced by the French company Bolloré, run by the charismatic industrialist and businessman Vincent Bolloré.
The Bluecar, designed by Bolloré's Italian partners Pininfarina, is powered by a lithium metal polymer battery created by the company allowing them to travel about 250km (155 miles) between charges. Thebatteries will take four hours to charge.
With a maximum speed of 130kph (approximately 80mph) and acceleration of 0 to 60 in a snail-like 6.3 seconds the blue car will not break any records, but is designed for short journeys around town for the 58 per cent of Parisians who do not own a car and the additional 16 per cent who own a car but use it less than once a month.