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[World Streets] Common sense on "next generation" carsharing - Paris, London ...

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  • ericbritton
    [http://www.climatechangecorp.com/content.asp?contentid=6026] [The following piece of this date graciously shared with us by the author and the Climate Change
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 19, 2009
      [The following piece of this date graciously shared with us by the
      author and the Climate Change Group ]Could London follow Paris with
      electric car sharing?]18 Mar 2009 | Author: Toby Procter | - Boris
      Johnson's electric cars will not be as green as those powered by the
      French, so why not just hop on a bus instead?Aiming to make London the
      ‘electric capital of Europe’, London Mayor Boris Johnson told the
      London assembly on 25 February that a working group was considering a
      plan along the lines of the Autolib’ electric car rental scheme planned
      for Paris for 2010, and wanted to greatly expand support for charging
      points around London.Johnson hoped for a "sizeable chunk" of the £250m
      government funding for electric vehicle initiatives, and added that he
      wanted to see at least half the 8,000-vehicle fleet owned by the
      Greater London Authority replaced by electric vehicles as soon as
      possible, while warning that considerable sums were necessary in order
      to invest in a technology that is "almost there ... but not quite".Last
      October, the Paris authorities announced plans for an ‘Autolib’
      electric car-sharing scheme to do on four wheels what the successful
      Vélib bicycle sharing scheme has done on two. Paris proposes 2,000 EVs
      to be available from 200 city centre underground car parks and 500
      parking bays, and another 2,000 in the city’s suburbs. These vehicles
      could be booked online, picked up in one bay and left in another at the
      journey’s end.Electric cars still have teething problems. Problem one
      is that these cars - some are not technically cars, but ‘quadricycles’
      such as the REVA and Aixam Mega – are produced in small numbers and
      cost more than comparable ordinary cars, despite offering limited
      range, utility and space.Problem two is the infrastructure EVs need,
      given their batteries’ present shortcomings. Most EVs’ batteries need
      recharging for 7-8 hours after around 100 miles. The 40 Elektrobay
      street-side recharging units already in place in London cost around
      £7,500 per unit installed - multiply that by 700 units as with the
      Paris scheme - and it adds up to a huge sum of cash.Then there’s the
      cost of telematics and accounting systems and associated hardware to
      charge users for the ‘juice’ and the rentals. Elektromotive, the UK
      firm which has supplied London’s recharging points to date, recently
      signed an agreement with the Renault-Nissan Alliance, which hopes for
      global EV market leadership from the launch of its first electric cars
      in 2012, but solutions to large-scale recharging/parking infrastructure
      issues remain unproven.London is likely to start, as have some other
      local authorities, by buying more electric vehicles for the GLA fleet,
      whose journeys start and end at depots where off-road recharging units
      can more easily be installed.To date, car sharing clubs have remained
      small-scale, though in London, the City Car Club saw membership rise
      109% last year, and rival Whizzgo’s rose 42%. One such company might
      take on the management of an EV sharing scheme. But it would provide
      electric car access only to the few, so might not deserve big
      subsidies.The question of whether electric cars in London are the
      greenest option should also be asked. France relies on nuclear energy
      for around 80% of its electricity and therefore has a much lower carbon
      electricity supply than the Brits.And according to estimates cited by
      the French EV maker Aixam, on average people only need cars in London
      for 4-mile journeys. Might they be better off taking a bus? Improving
      bus services might cut urban CO2 emissions more efficiently than a
      token fleet of electric cars available only to the few.However London
      decides to pump-prime electric transport, the Mayor should reflect on
      the fact that some of the latest small diesel cars from European
      manufacturers emit CO2 emissions below 100gm/km, well below the 2012
      limit proposed by the EU, and scarcely more than the average 87g/km
      calculated for electric cars by the UK's King Review of Low Carbon
      Cars, factoring in the UK’s renewables-poor generation mix.

      Posted By ericbritton to World Streets at 3/19/2009 02:09:00 AM

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