Angelique Chrisafis
Guardian
Oct 1, 2011

Parisian leaders will wheel out the first of the city’s blue, bubble-shaped cars this weekend in what aims to be one of the largest self-service electric car schemes.

Anyone with a driving licence will be able to pick up one of the four-seater electric “Bluecars” for short journeys around the city, dropping it off at any battery point. The Autolib service follows the French capital’s success with Velib, the self-service bike scheme that has been copied by London.

The €235m (£202m) project is the brainchild of the city’s Socialist mayor, Bertrand Delanoë, to deal with traffic, pollution and the nightmare of parking. He hopes it will cement the city’s reputation for innovative new green transport. More than half of Parisians do not own a car.

The investment for the scheme has been provided by Vincent Bolloré, a businessman close to Nicolas Sarkozy, who helped land the president the nickname “Bling-bing” when Sarkozy went on an ostentatious holiday on his yacht just after being elected.

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