"La Ville-Lumière" - The Light City. Home to one famously large pylon, a semi-burned down cathedral and also an archway in a roundabout. More interestingly, a city where 20% of the inhabitants already use car-sharing services. Since July the 1st 2019, Paris has been banishing older diesel cars from their roads and encouraging cleaner transport. So where better to roll out an all-electric car-sharing platform?
In March 2020, Renault is giving it a go, with their new ‘ZITY’ programme - pronounced exactly how you’d imagine a French person would attempt to pronounce the English word ‘city’.
So, what is it? Well, 500 Renault ZOEs have been distributed across the city and made available for hire 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. There is no booking office though because this is 2020 and there’s an app for that, naturally.
For the customer, there are no subscription fees, the rates are competitive and the supply is extensive. You can choose to pay by the minute, for fixed time slots (4 hours, 8 hours or 24 hours) or you can use time-credit. Battery levels are also guaranteed. The ZOE ZITY cars report all of their onboard data to the app, so you can see how much battery is in each vehicle and book accordingly. If a vehicle’s battery falls below the minimum requirement then it is no longer available to hire and the ZITY team will come and recharge it.
To top it all off, over time the technology is self-teaching and it will analyse vehicle use and demand hotspots, to allow the ZITY vehicles to be repositioned in the most in-demand locations at the most in-demand times, so users can easily find a vehicle. It’s all really rather clever.
Gilles Normand, SVP, Electric Vehicles & Mobility Services, Groupe Renault stated: "The ZITY electric car-sharing service in free-floating offer has many advantages, including flexible booking times and the availability of vehicles, in the right place at the right time, thanks to a high-performance application,"
"With a cleaner, accessible and sustainable mobility offer, ZITY also provides a response to the needs of cities to reduce CO2 emissions and to combat pollution.”
The ZITY technology has already been successfully launched in Madrid as of 2017, so Paris seems like a natural progression for a service which hopes to become the number one electric car-sharing service in the world.
What do you think, though? Would this work in the UK? Could you see yourself seamlessly summoning an electric hatchback on a daily basis? How cheap would they have to become before inner-city dwellers in the UK consider ditching their vehicles or using polluting taxis? We’re interested to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.