Tel Aviv Considering Tiny Electric Car Rental
The Tel Aviv municipality is promoting a new initiative to operate a short-term rental service of small electric cars, not unlike the existing bicycle rental service, Tel-O-Fun. The plan is in relatively early stages.
The municipality is expected to call for information soon and perform a worldwide tender in 2013. The idea is based on a Parisian one-of-a-kind service. Electric car company Bolloré, in cooperation with the Paris municipality, offers electric car rentals, in a project dubbed “Autolib“. The cars can be rented at one station and returned to a different station.
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The new initiative was revealed by the municipality’s director general, Menahem Leibe, in a press conference detailing the city’s 2013 budget. “A large population uses bicycles and that’s significant. The complementary vehicle could be an electric bike and a small electric car. All in an urban environment, not too fast moving, small and eases traveling from place to place,” Leiba told Ha’aretz.
“It’s something urban. It’s not meant for trips to Jerusalem. It’s another means of transportation for those who want to get around with a vehicle, but not for long distances.” He said that the city will use cars like the Renault Twizy, a sort-of cross between a car and a motorcycle, but stated that the car’s manufacturer will be chosen through the tender.
Focusing on short-term rentals
Despite the plan being in its early stages, Leiba can describe a general outline. He says that the service will be smaller than Tel-O-Fun. At first, the city will offer several dozen cars for rent or a few hundred at the most. Rental stations will also be small. The rental method is not yet determined. It is possible that the car could be released from the station with a phone call which will also secure a space at the return station.
The billing method is also open, but Leiba points out that the idea would be to limit users to short rental periods for a relatively low price, up to 30 minutes, and fine users who use it for a longer period of time.
Many commercial companies around the world offer small cars for rent, billing according to time of use or travel distance. In Paris, Bolloré paid for the manufacturing and maintenance of the cars, while the city set up the infrastructure. As of October this year, Paris had 1,800 cars in 1,100 charging stations. Parisians can subscribe to the service for €144 ($190) a year and pay an additional €5 ($6.60) for every half hour of use. The price rises progressively if rental time prolongs.