Check out the rest of the article here.


Getting Around: ‘Paris EV and Bike Sharing Programs’ 

From Translogic:

In a city as densely populated as Paris, driving your own car around is about as good of an idea as speaking English to every French person you encounter. Fortunately, Paris and similar cities are setup with substantial public transit systems. But for those moments when you need a car or bike, Paris has you covered.
Vélib’ is a new bike-sharing program that started in 2007 and has since grown into a city-wide alternative transit system. There are now almost 20,000 bikes that live at about 1,200 bike stations. These stations are scattered all around Paris’ city center, on average about 1,000 ft from one another. This kind of availability allows for quick and easy transportation, without having to hunt down bikes or places to lock them up.
If something bigger than a bike with basket is required, Paris also has an extensive car-sharing program called Autolib’. Launching in December 2011, Autolib’ operates similarly to Vélib, but for cars. Bolloré’s Blue Car is the vehicle of choice because it is cheap and all electric. The design comes from Pininfarina, an Italian design firm noted for their work with Ferrari.
At launch, 250 cars were placed around Paris in small convoys. All the cars connect to a terminal for charging and accounting. The terminal is used to rent and unlock the vehicle. Drivers can go up to 150 miles on a single charge and speeds can hit 80 mph — but don’t ever expect to go that fast around Paris. These cars are more for commuting, when you need to carry a lot of things, or need to go somewhere that public transit doesn’t go.
When drivers are finished, they bring the car back to an Autolib’ station and plug in. The car can fully recharge in 8 hours. The 30 kWh lithium-polymer battery is designed with frequent use in mind and can stand to last a long time.
Check out the rest of the article here. (H/ T Huffington Post)
(Photo credit: Translogic

From The New York Times:

Suppose you don’t need your car today. And suppose, as it happens, that a stranger in your area does need a car. Would you be willing to rent yours out?

Several car-sharing start-ups, including GetaroundRelayRides and JustShareIt are eager to connect car owners with renters this way. The companies use different formulas, but participating owners receive, generally speaking, about two-thirds of the rental proceeds. RelayRides says an owner of a midsize, late-model sedan who rents out a car for 10 hours a week could expect to clear about $3,000 a year.

The newer start-ups say peer-to-peer sharing is an environmentally friendlier option because it allows an existing car to be used more fully. 

Car sharing is just one form of “collaborative consumption,” the clunky catchphrase that encompasses Airbnb’s space sharing and is commonly used to suggest an ideological or moral imperative to share more things. Who knows? In the future, car sharing may become so accepted that we can eventually return to that bygone age when licensed drivers actually outnumbered licensed vehicles.

Check out the rest of the article here. You can also check out an animated infographic about car sharing here.

(Image credit: New York Times)

From The City Fix:

The “Millennial” generation is quickly adopting car sharing as a mainstream transportation solution, according to results from Zipcar’s second annual study of the personal transportation and car ownership behavior of 18- to 34-year-olds. The study found that 55 percent of this influential generation have made an effort to drive less, which is a 10 percent rise from 2010. “Millennials are increasingly embracing access over ownership,” Zipcar explained. This is an interesting development, especially since vehicle ownership has been viewed as a “rite of passage” for many Americans.

Among the factors persuading Millennials to refuse car ownership are environmental concerns, which have led this generation to consciously reduce road travel. Other concerns include the total cost of vehicle ownership and the perceived advantages of “collaborative consumption“ programs. “Compared to older generations, Millennials participate in and are more open to collaborative consumption programs, such as media, car and home or vacation sharing,” Zipcar explained. “More than half of Millennials, or 53 percent, indicated they would likely partake in a car-sharing service, like Zipcar.”’

Here are some key findings from the study:

  • 55 percent have actively made an effort to drive less, compared to 45 percent in the same 2010 study
  • 78 percent say owning a car is difficult due to high costs of gas and maintenance
  • 53 percent would participate in a car-sharing service, like Zipcar – mobility and convenience is still important
  • Millennials are the most likely age group to participate in the “sharing economy” (67 percent would participate in media sharing and 49 percent in home/vacation sharing)
  • 40 percent  say they would participate to save more money for retirement or buying a home

Check out the rest of the article here. Related articles on the topic include:

(Photo credit: Carbon Talks)

From Canadian Business:

Susan Shaheen heads the Innovative Mobility Program at the University of California, Berkeley, where she has been researching transit’s role in the "collaborative consumption" movement for the past two decades. The phenomenon encapsulates the rapid expansion of swapping, sharing, bartering, trading and renting that has emerged in recent years — especially in the online realm.

"I definitely sense some sort of cultural shift away from ownership," she says, noting that a confluence of technology, environment and economy have precipitated a spike in recent years.

The summer of 2008 — when oil and gas prices reached record highs — was a turning point. A similar rise in gas prices, which averaged 125.84 cents a litre Thursday in Canada, combined with shaky consumer confidence is again driving more consumers toward shared transport, she said.

"We definitely tend to see, anecdotally, changes in uptake for car sharing and shared modes when we see gas prices rising, but I think another factor in addition to that is economic decline."

There are 17 car-sharing networks in several Canadian cities, largely dominated by the Boston-based car sharing pioneer Zipcar. Smaller local competitors also exist across the country, mainly co-ops aimed at urbanite commuters.

Bike sharing programs are still more rare but are rapidly proliferating. In May, Toronto became the latest Canadian city to house Montreal-based Bixi’s bike sharing network. There are seven programs in North America.

Check out the rest of the article here.

(Photo credit: Geist)