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Who Saved the Electric Car?
They do have electric cars in Paris. Flickr photo by David_Megginson.

They do have electric cars in Paris. Flickr photo by David_Megginson.

Via BeyondDC’s newsfeed, I see that Baltimore may be introducing an electric car-sharing program. This is a great idea.

You often hear about how the reason electric cars will never be popular is that they’ll require an entirely new energy infrastructure. And indeed they will! Retrofitting gas stations won’t happen unless there are electric cars and electric cars won’t happen until there are retrofitted gas stations.

But with car-sharing, you already have to return your car to some specific location. There would be no need to put charging stations anywhere else, so there’s no need to upgrade the entire energy infrastructure. This does put some limits on total mobility gained by using the program, but that’s normal. With Zipcar, you can rent it for up to 4 days. But with SmartBike, you have to return the bike in 3 hours. With Velib, you start to pay extra fees after 30 minutes. So it wouldn’t be crazy for car-sharing to have a short deadline for returning the car – in this case strictly limited by miles as well as hours. Since we’re never going to put charging stations across the country, this is a remarkably elegant solution and a way to get a foot in the electric car door.Via BeyondDC’s newsfeed, I see that Baltimore may be introducing an electric car-sharing program. This is a great idea.

You often hear about how the reason electric cars will never be popular is that they’ll require an entirely new energy infrastructure. And indeed they will! Retrofitting gas stations won’t happen unless there are electric cars and electric cars won’t happen until there are retrofitted gas stations.

But with car-sharing, you already have to return your car to some specific location. There would be no need to put charging stations anywhere else, so there’s no need to upgrade the entire energy infrastructure. This does put some limits on total mobility gained by using the program, but that’s normal. With Zipcar, you can rent it for up to 4 days. But with SmartBike, you have to return the bike in 3 hours. With Velib, you start to pay extra fees after 30 minutes. So it wouldn’t be crazy for car-sharing to have a short deadline for returning the car – in this case strictly limited by miles as well as hours. Since we’re never going to put charging stations across the country, this is a remarkably elegant solution and a way to get a foot in the electric car door.

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