Procuring electric vehicles for Paris' car-sharing scheme (France)

By Thomas Mourey / Updated: 09 Dec 2015

The Autolib’ car sharing scheme was launched in 2011, and now consists of a pool of approximately 3 000 electric cars. Compared to ‘classic’ tenders, this process consisted of several aspects including specifications for the vehicles themselves, the charging infrastructure and the rental service.


Following the huge success of the public bicycle hire scheme Velib’, in 2009 the city of Paris decided to create a car sharing scheme: Autolib’. In the context of the municipal Climate Action Planinfo-icon, launched in 2007, which aims at substantially cutting greenhouse gases by 2020, the city authorityinfo-icon took the logical step of opting for fully electric cars.

In action 

Consequently, the delivery and the maintenance of 3 000 zero-emission electric cars was a technical specification included in the tender. The contractor was also required to provide the delivery and maintenance of charging infrastructure as well. Other specifications focused specifically on the car sharing service, the ability to provide a rental service 24/7, as well as the design and delivery of a computerised management system. Several award criteria also dealt with the quality of the vehicles (10 per cent) and the quality of the charging infrastructure (5 per cent), but also with the quality of the car sharing service (40 per cent), the price (25 per cent), the aesthetics of the vehicles, the charging points and the visual identity (10 per cent) and risk management (5 per cent). The first package of 3 000 electric cars and associated charging infrastructure was delivered in 2011, in time for the official launch of the scheme in December of that year in Paris and 47 other early-adopting neighbouring municipalities.


The success of the car-sharing scheme is now obvious with more than 83 000 subscribers as of August 2015, and a total of 10.5 m rides since its launch. The car-sharing service is estimated to have taken approximately 30 000 individual cars off the roads. Emissions of CO2, other gases and particulates have also greatly decreased as electric vehicles emit nothing.

Challenges, opportunities and transferability 

One of the keys to the success of the project has been the involvement of surrounding cities. Numerous cities have joined the 47 original members. As of July 2015 there are 82 municipalities in the Autolib’ network. The provision of dedicated on-street parking facilities and numerous charging points in the Parisian metropolis have also greatly contribute to the success of Autolib’ and to the promotion of electric mobilityinfo-icon in Paris.

In Depth 

Image: Autolib’ Métropole

Clean and energy-efficient vehicles
Western Europe
Thomas Mourey
Thomas Mourey
21 Jul 2015
09 Dec 2015