A couple of years ago we met Guy Nègre (see Reporter n° 129) who had worked on an idea for a car powered by compressed air. The Indian car manufacturer Tata had taken up his invention and he claimed to have promises from Paris and Nice to adopt his Airpod for their projected "autolib" services. That didn't happened: both cities opted for electric cars and Nègre has left the area, angry and disappointed.
So what's happening in Nice? Starting March 30th there will be 17 stations in and around Nice (rising to 70 by end 2012) where subscribers to the system (a one-off payment of €25) will be able to pick up an electric car. One point: it has to be returned to the station where it was collected.
How much? There'll be a deposit of €300 and then a range of tariffs will kick in. You want the car for a whole day - that's 10 hours for €50; you just want 4 hours driving time up to lunchtime - then you'll pay €20. Mayor Estrosi hopes the availability of Auto-partage will cut the use of private petrol-driven cars ... and will also encourage drivers to go electric next time they change cars. In a recent poll three out of four said they'd likely do this ... within ten years.