Paris to Introduce All Electric Car Sharing Program

As a follow up to my previous post on new bicycle sharing programs, news today that Paris plans to introduce an all electric car sharing program within the city.  As the article notes, the system has the potential to provide many benefits but also many pitfalls. It will be interesting to see how the system pans out but given the right technology, I think it could be very promising.

Of course there are several private companies that already provide car sharing services to the public.  Most of these systems use traditional, gasoline powered vehicles (although many are hybrids).  For example, ZipCar operates in thirteen US cities and London and allows members to use several different types of car models for short term needs.  ZipCar also markets to students at select universities.  The system is great for people who live in cities and only need to use a car every so often (like for moving, short trips to a store where walking or transit is inconvenient, etc.).  It is also great for couples who own only one car.  When I lived in Washington, it was a very popular system and you would notice ZipCars parked all over the place.  Sadly, ZipCar does not offer service in any Texas cities.  In fact, I believe the only car sharing system in Texas is offered through Car2go, a German company, which recently started a system in Austin.

Would such a car sharing program work in Houston?  In the inner loop area, I think it would be a great alternative, especially for households that currently have two cars.  I think it could also work nicely in conjunction with some of the local universities.  As the Houston’s population expands and density increases, city leaders are going to have to start thinking out of the box for alternative transportation options for citizens.  Increased transit is great and a much needed (and long overdo) infrastructure improvement.  But looking for other systems to supplement transit and make living without a private automobile a realistic alternative here in Houston should also be on the table.

Thoughts?


Posted: Thursday, August 5th, 2010 at 1:25 pm
Categories: move, sustain
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2 Comments

  1. I came across your post while searching for availability of a car share program in Houston. Zipcar does have a Houston presence at Rice, but as far as I can tell, it’s only available to students, faculty and staff (http://www.media.rice.edu/media/NewsBot.asp?MODE=VIEW&ID=11382). Unfortunately, I have no affiliation with Rice and am still searching for an option such as this that I could use. I agree that this would be a great program to have in Houston. My personal situation is a household of two with two cars and I would consider getting rid of one if some type of viable car share program were available here.

  2. I too have been searching for local options to participate in a car sharing program. I am a single mom with two cars which are typically in use by two children who have part-time jobs and attend college. I drive a vanpool to commute to work but occasionally find we need another car.

    I noticed that Zipcar has a presence in Austin and Waco in addition to the one location at Rice University in Houston. I inquired about what it might take to get them to expand in Houston. As you would expect, they need to know there is a market for their service in Houston. Here is the response I got when I asked:

    Hi! Thank you for writing and letting us know that Houston is ready for Zipcars! The best way to let us know your neighborhood is ready for Zipcar is to have your friends and neighbors add their address to our “notify me page” http://www.zipcar.com/notify-me. We use this information as a guide to place our next fleet of cars. If you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.

    If you are reading this and believe that Houston needs a car sharing program, please let them know!

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