Electric Car-Sharing Hits Paris
As the automotive industry rapidly evolves, the riches in electric car-sharing look there for the taking. Commercial rollouts are taking place on a city-by-city basis. However, while crowded minibuses and communal rickshaws are provably popular in Delhi, attempts to commercialize their law-abiding equivalents in the West won’t stop stalling.
The biggest on-street, free-floating, per-minute electric car-sharing service of its type was operated by ‘Share Now,’ a BMW-Daimler joint-venture that downscaled in December. In a few European cities, BMW and Daimler blamed “too low adoption rates.” Not enough people were interested. And in North America, operations were discontinued because of “lacking infrastructure.”
Uber and Lyft have the beating of other mobility services on price, and that’s one reason e-bikes and car-sharing schemes can’t compete. Investors, however, aren’t giving up hope. Some analysts are predicting the two major ride-hailing apps will raise fares, an inevitability if they’re to turn a profit and survive as independent going-concerns.
A price hike could be the catalyst for electric car-sharing to take off. Any existing service with market share would find itself in pole position to profit, and that’s part of the motivation behind Renault and Ferrovial’s entrance to the Paris market.
In March, Parisians will be able to summon one of 658 free-roaming Renault ZOE cars, not based at stations or only shuttling from one location to another. The ZOE is one of the only mass-produced electric vehicles that’s somewhat hot on Tesla’s tail. Consumers, especially when it comes to new products, will buy what others are buying.
This venture gets the car on the road and in front of the eyes of eco-conscious consumers. The big question is, for how long?