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The French capital city of Paris has officially kicked off its Earth-friendly electric-car-for-hire scheme, rolling out battery "bubble cars" on Sunday and potentially sparking a revolution in transport.

Hot on the wheels of Velib – Paris' self-service bicycle scheme – comes Autolib, which city officials claim is the world's only self-service urban transport scheme of its type.

As with the 20,000 bicycles at hundreds of Velib stations throughout the city, enrolled locals wishing to get from point A to point B can soon drive an electric Bollore Bluecar from a starting location to a drop-off point at one of the soon-to-be thousands of city-wide stations.

On Sunday, a line of zero-emissions Bluecars hit the streets for a two-month trial ahead of Autolib's official launch in December. By 2013, Autolib is expected to have up to 5,000 eco-friendly Bluecars stationed at more than 1,000 locations across the city. The aim of the scheme is to slash noise and air pollution, as well as to reduce traffic congestion by discouraging private ownership of vehicles. Getting behind the wheel of a Bluecar will cost drivers anywhere between four and eight euros ($5.32 to $10.65 U.S. at the current exchange rate) per half hour, on top or a membership fee of 10 euros ($13.32) per day or 144 ($192) euros for a year. Hit the jump to catch video of the Bluecars rolling into town.
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