Paris is a city with its fair share of traffic problems. It's also the largest city where a public bicycle rental service is being used, very successfully (Ve'lib) and we already knew about the city's plans to install a similar service featuring electric cars. An EV rental plan even helped the Mayor win re-election, and more information about this plan has now been unveiled. First of all, the fleet is going to be exclusively electric, with 4,000 units. That's a very large order for a single model of a vehicle - but which model has not yet been announced. The system, called Auto'lib, which means "Auto à libre disposition" (Help-yourself car) will not only be installed in the city itself, but it will cover the suburbs (banlieue), expanding the range that the bike rental service operates in.
The scheduled roll-out date is late 2009 and to handle the 4,000 EVs the system will have 700 stations (with 200 of them underground) and a powerful computer system coordinating the rentals. Prices aren't yet known (rumors hint at about €250 per month, including full insurance), but it seems likely that Parisians will be able to enjoy the service with their regular "Navigo" mass transit cards.