A 2012 Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle 370 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Rebecca Cook)
The city of Tel Aviv has sent out a request for information for foreign and
domestic companies looking to win a tender to build an electric or hybrid
car-sharing system in the city, the municipality announced on
Mayor Ron Huldai sent out the request to gauge the costs of
planning, building, maintaining, and operating a municipality-run car-sharing
system, one that would be inspired to some extent by the city’s “Tel-O-Fun” bike
rental system, which launched in 2011, a press release said.
said the initial idea is to have a network of return and rental stations, with
cars available for rent at no more than NIS 25 per half hour and available for
use within a 100-km. radius.
In a statement on Wednesday, city hall said
the decision is meant to help people living in or visiting Tel Aviv to leave
behind their personal vehicle and use public transport instead, which will
reduce air pollution and traffic.
Tel Avivians “can’t wait around for the
needed improvements in the public transportation system in Israel – therefore,
we will continue to work with the means at our disposal in order to create
alternatives to private cars,” Huldai said in the statement.
The idea of
an electric or hybrid car-sharing program was first announced in December,
during a press conference to unveil the 2013 budget. At the press conference,
the municipality’s director-general Menachem Leibe, spoke of a car-share plan
similar to Tel-O-Fun, though on a much smaller scale.
According to the
English version of the request for information, which is accessible on the
municipality’s website, those looking to apply for the tender have until June 6
to do so.
The point of the project is to reduce by 5 percent the number
of cars in the city (257,524, according to 2010 municipal figures), alleviate
congestion, parking shortages, reduce air pollution and increase the use of
public transport, the request for information says.
Though it appears
that for the program to be viable, the cars would probably have to be something
along the lines of the Renault Twizy, in use in the electric car-sharing system
in France – the request for information says that at least 50 percent of the
cars will have four passenger seats, and that the program has not ruled out
using gasoline-driven cars.
Different rental options are also being
considered, including one under which cars would have to be returned to the same
spot they were taken from – though they stipulate that in all likelihood this is
not the sort of plan the city is looking for.
Car-sharing programs are in
place in hundreds of cities around the world, though electric car-sharing
programs complete with charging stations are available in only a handful. Tel
Aviv is already served by its own branch of Car2Go, though the company does not
operate along the same model of electric car rental and charging stations that
the city is proposing.
Launched in 2011, the Tel-O-Fun bike rental
program has been something of a success, despite repeated technical malfunctions
at its around 150 rental stations around the city.