Thursday, October 6, 2011

3 Benefits of Autolib You Aren't Expecting

The funny thing about sharing, is that there are usually a whole bunch of unexpected and unanticipated benefits that people don’t expect and don’t anticipate.

For Zipcar, sharing rather than owning your own car meant that:
-- You can choose the car that fits the needs of each specific trip.
-- You have instant access to a “personal fleet” of 6000 cars parked across North America and England.
-- You never have to maintain or repair it

Try doing that with your car!

So what will AutoLib bring that is a surprise? By writing this down, I’m anticipating, which kinds of ruins my argument. But, here goes:Unanticipated Benefits of AutoLib

-- Electric cars will be demystified. Everyone will have seen them going around everywhere, experienced their commonness, and lots and lots of people will have driven them. Today, the arguments and fears about electric cars are by people who have no first-hand experience. Now, this discussion around electric cars will stem from a first-hand experience. Much better!

-- We’ll automatically choose our mode of travel based on the trip, rather than mindlessly and routinely getting into our own cars. This will be a sea change for many people. What an idea! Should I walk, bike, metro, taxi, Buzzcar or AutoLib to get where I need to go in the city? And this new way of thinking will just be second nature, like checking the weather when you wake up in the morning before you choosing your clothes for the day.

-- We will travel comfortably and routinely between different modes of transport. The whole frightening and ugly-named concept -- “multi-modal”-- will be a natural reality that includes the car in those mode choices. Very few people will be mono-modal: only public transit or only by car. It should bring these two groups together, less divisiveness between the camps. It will make negotiating for rights of way between alocation of public space have more consensus.


Odile Beniflah said...

I had not thought about benefit 1 (Electric cars will be demystified): totally true!

Kai Carver said...

Yes, and Velib had similar benefits, including:

- demystifying bikes in the city -- it encouraged people who never would have thought of riding a bike to try. Bicycles became socially sanctioned in ways they hadn't been.

I just hope Autolib actually works... Electric vehicles so far have been like tablet computers: an obvious good idea, but awaiting an attractive implementation that just works...