In big cities where there’s lots of traffic congestion and limited parking, one can make a strong case for car sharing as a superior alternative to traditional car ownership. Car sharing is popular in Paris, used by about 20 percent of that city’s residents. A new Parisian car-sharing company plans to make this practice even more sustainable by catering exclusively to those seeking electric vehicles (EVs).
- Groupe Renault and Ferrovial have joined forces to launch Zity, a car-sharing service offering a lineup that consists solely of EVs.
- Beginning this month, the company will make 500 Renault Zoe EVs available to clients.
- These cars will be available for hire 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Zity’s EVs are warriors in Paris’ fight to improve the city’s air quality. (Photo: Groupe Renault)
The air in Paris
Paris struggles with air pollution. One study published by the environmental group Transport & Environment claims that a four-day weekend in Paris is equivalent to inhaling the smoke of two cigarettes. For those who live in the city year-round, inhaling the Parisian air is the equivalent of smoking 183 cigarettes annually.
To deal with this problem, Paris has been working hard to increase the adoption of EVs. France wants to end the sale of all gas- and diesel-powered cars by 2040. Paris has settled on an even more aggressive timetable: The French capital plans to get rid of all combustion-engine cars by the year 2030.
Extreme air pollution has forced Paris to take drastic steps. On days when the air quality is especially poor, the city has temporarily banned half the cars from driving and made public transportation free. Paris has also worked aggressively to introduce car-free zones, and the city has fined drivers who own older cars that don’t comply with emissions regulations.
Zity’s EV car-sharing service is one more tool that the city can use in its battle to achieve cleaner air.
The EVs offered by Zity will be dispersed throughout the city, and they will be accessible via a mobile app that you can use to locate, reserve and unlock the vehicle. There is no subscription fee, and riders will only be charged for the use of the cars. Per-minute rates are available, and you can also choose blocks of four, eight or 24 hours. The company also offers a special “standby” option that allows you to keep the vehicle at a preferential rate if you need to park it for a short period of time.
A free app gets you access to one of Zity’s EVs, and the vehicles are strategically placed to meet demand. (Photo: Groupe Renault)
Zity works with a computer platform that employs an algorithm designed to analyze vehicle use on an hour-by-hour basis. This algorithm is able to identify places where demand is highest. This information is used to intelligently reposition the EVs so that there are vehicles available for those who need them.
Each Zity EV seats five and is equipped with driver-assist features such as a rearview camera and parking sensors. Some come with child seats, and the app allows you to easily identify these vehicles.
WHY THIS MATTERS
Paris isn’t the only city with poor air quality. Round-the-clock electric car sharing is a solution whose time has come, and it could help reduce pollution in other places across the globe.