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Before Burning, Please Make Sure the Car is Fully Charged

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[Photo Credit: Cars FAIL Blog]

Recent developments in the City of Light may set off some bells here in San Francisco: an electric car-sharing scheme. The Vélib bike-sharing program has had mixed results, mostly because of vandalism and an inability to maintain the bikes. Here, bike sharing is still a dream. We also have more hills. In San Francisco both City Car Share and Zipcar (disclosure: we are members of both) do a great job freeing people of the burden of auto-owning. Just not electric. Electric cars, besides being expensive to acquire, bring up the issues of charging and range, plus one that still bedevils Vélib- maintenance:

"Autolib is a really good idea. Both the bike and car rental schemes are great ideas," she says. "But they have to be kept in good shape. And this seems to be a real problem. I just don't think Parisians are civilized enough." Because, yes, the Parisians can be such slobs. Also there seems to be the tradition of "disaffected youth" burning cars for sport. In San Francisco, disaffected youths plant vegetables. In Paris, Autolib will probably debut in January 2011, most likely after the annual New Year's car burnings.

Also in Paris, in an attempt to solve the acute shortage of apartments within the city's traditional borders, authorities have begun to cut down on the number of apartments for rent to tourists. Seems its illegal to sublet for less than a year in Paris, but for years there's been a lucrative trade in short stays, mostly for American visitors/owners, and a phenomenon not exactly unknown here in San Francisco. Should help shore up the hotel industry in addition to allowing more Parisians to actually live in Paris.
· Paris' Popular Bike Rentals Spark Electric Car Plans [NPR via Grist]
· Autolib [Autolib (in French) ]
· Car-Burning in France [Paul From Paris]
· Spate of Car Burnings End 2008 [Cars FAIL Blog]
· Paris Cracks Down on Pied-à-Terre Rentals {NYTimes]