Toyota and partners launching Cité lib by Ha:mo EV car sharing in Grenoble; ultracompact EVs complementing public transport
13 September 2014
|Toyota i-ROAD and COMS for use in "Cité lib by Ha:mo" EV sharing trial in Grenoble, France. Click to enlarge.|
The City of Grenoble, France, its metropolitan area Grenoble-Alpes Metropole, EDF and its affiliate Sodetrel, Toyota Motor Corporation and Cité lib officially launched the new “Cité lib by Ha:mo” electric vehicle car-sharing service. (Earlier post.)
Offering a new type of mobility based on ultra-compact electric vehicles, the service aims to complement Grenoble’s public transport network with a solution for short-trips—including one-way trips—that can be planned as part of overall city journeys. The vehicles and the charging stations are seamlessly connected to the IT infrastructure of Grenoble’s transport network, offering both route planning and online/mobile app reservations.
Toyota is providing 35 Toyota i-ROAD EVs, the largest number in service in the world. (Earlier post.) The Toyota i-ROAD is an innovative, fun-to-drive three-wheel personal mobility vehicle equipped with Active Lean technology that emulates the movements of a skier. The i-ROAD is as agile as a scooter with the enclosed-canopy comfort of a car. Toyota is also providing 35 four-wheel COMS vehicles. (Earlier post.)
|Toyota i-ROAD for use in “Cité lib by Ha:mo” EV sharing trial in Grenoble, France. Click to enlarge.|
The 70 Toyota vehicles will be available for short city trips in 27 charging stations installed and operated by Sodetrel—including for one-way trips from one station to another. A total of 120 charging points for the project and 41 for other plug-in vehicles will be added to the city’s transport infrastructure.
|Toyota i-ROAD and COMS at a charging station for “Cité lib by Ha:mo” EV sharing trial. Click to enlarge.|
Each station—which is located close to tram, bus or train stops—is equipped with at least four spots for i-ROADs and COMS. Some stations also feature one or two spaces for other EVs and PHEVs.
Users can pick-up one of the 70 vehicles and drop it off at any station near their destination without having to return it to the original pickup point. They will only be charged for the ride.
The service eliminates the need to look for a parking place. In addition, the compactness of the vehicles makes it easier to plan and build parking and charging infrastructure.
Toyota is not only contributing the 70 electric vehicles to the project, but is also responsible for the car-sharing management system—called Ha:mo (for Harmonious Mobility)—which it has been piloting in its home town of Toyota City in Japan. Toyota considers that electric vehicles are part of the overall solution for low-carbon transport and are especially suited to short-distance, urban journeys, while hybrids, plug-in hybrids and fuel cell vehicles will prove more practical for longer trips.
Having operated a car sharing service in Grenoble for nearly 10 years with 80 vehicles (gasoline, hybrids, CNG and electric), Cité lib will manage the day-to-day operation of the new service. The additional EVs will double its fleet and offer a different type of service to its subscribers.
A simple pricing plan dubbed “3, 2, 1 euros” for respectively the first, second and third 15-minute increments will be proposed to Grenoble citizens. For annual local transport card subscribers, the price will be reduced, at 2+ 1 euro for respectively the first and subsequent 15-minute increments.
Cité lib by Ha:mo will open to the public on 1 October 2014 for a three-year period. The project partners will use this trial to collect valuable data on technical aspects and user behaviors.
OK, they are small EVs, which is good for urban transport.
Being electric, they reduce local pollution, and being France (with 79% nuclear electricity), there is very little CO2 associated with its generation - all good.
Being small and light, it should not require a large battery and so could be cheap.
But can you fit 2 of them side by side in a single car lane ? No, so it won't help with traffic congestion very much.
But a 2 wheeler would, as they are so narrow.
So should they promote rental electric scooters ?
Problem here is safety - how do you get a helmet onto people's heads if it is to be shared ?
Maybe people would have to carry hair nets with them, or inflatable helmets, or foldable sausage helmets - remember, a scooter would probably limited to 40 or 50 kph.
You could have a mixed 2 wheel rental scheme - push bikes (as many cities already have) and e-scooters - for longer runs, less fit people.
Occasionally, you need a proper car if you are carrying luggage or groceries - use Zipcar for that.
See - it isn't easy - planning personal, rented transport.
If you had a single card that would allow you to use all modes of transport (at different fees, obviously), including buses and trains, it would be a good start, especially, if private operators could add their modes to the system.
Posted by: mahonj | 13 September 2014 at 05:56 AM
Good points Mahonj.
Toyota claims that the i-ROAD is no wider than a two-wheeler. The i-ROAD seats two passengers in tandem to keep the body as narrow as possible and it measures just 33.5 inches wide (reference: http://www.caranddriver.com/news/toyota-i-road-concept-for-2013-geneva-auto-show-news). Even Car and Driver was impressed with the i-ROAD concept.
Also, the Toyota HA:MO system is seamlessly connected to the Grenoble multimodal transport network.
Posted by: Account Deleted | 13 September 2014 at 09:04 AM
This is the future of city transportation, clean, mobile easy to park, safe, fun to drive, faster than a car
Posted by: Treehugger | 13 September 2014 at 11:21 AM
I suspect that one of the consequences of achieving cost and energy efficient electric vehicles will be increased traffic congestion since the high up-front costs, low energy costs and limited calendar life creates a strong "use it or loose it" incentive.
Electric car insider indicated in another discussion that he now drives his Tesla from San Diego to Seattle rather than fly. Success will lead to other problems.
On the topic of car sharing, Car-to-go appears to be a success here in Calgary. High downtown parking costs are probably the main driver, though it is a bit of a surprise considering we have a fairly wealthy population that likes and can afford cars. It wasn't the first attempt at car sharing here but it appears that what it takes to be successful is the right business model.
Posted by: Calgarygary | 13 September 2014 at 12:12 PM
Zip car with wireless charging in the city could be a winner. People might just rent one for the fun of it. :)
Posted by: SJC | 13 September 2014 at 04:11 PM
On mahonj idea of fitting 2 cars side by side in a single car lane to help with traffic congestion: That might be a good idea on highways where distances are longer but in the city, with intersections so close together, it's a bad idea.
Posted by: ai_vin | 14 September 2014 at 07:53 AM
It could be an excellent idea specially when autonomous driving is added. Side by side plus neck to neck could put 4 of them in the same space currently used by one gas guzzler?
Posted by: HarveyD | 14 September 2014 at 08:21 AM
@Harvey, that is quite a notion, 4 cars in the space of 1, locked together electronically.
You would have to add side bumpers and side rangers (just in case).
You would have to lock them into blocks of 4 with gaps between them so as not to freak out other road users.
If it worked, you might be able to increase this to 6 and 8 vehicles.
You could also do "urban platooning" where you lock ordinary cars together (singly of course).
Here is what I mean by the spatial efficiency of 2 wheeled vehicles (20 seconds in) there is tremendous use of space by the scooters.
[ BTW A Vespa scooter is 700 mm wide, a Ford galaxy 1900 (roughly), so you can fit 2 in the space of a car with 500 mm to spare. ]
But if you could fit a digital "stay clear" zone around these vehicles, you could fit them side by side, as long as they all had the same protocol.
For instance, they could be close together when stationary, further when moving.
On platooning - imagine a whole line fo cars all moving at the same time and getting through the lights in one go.
The rest of the line follows and stops on the red (or orange).
Posted by: mahonj | 14 September 2014 at 11:31 AM
Yes, autonomous driving cloud make much better use of street and highway spaces while reducing the current 80% of accidents created by human drivers.
More people could be transported faster, safer and at less cost by phasing out our overly large gas guzzlers and human drivers.
Why use a 4000+ lbs ICE vehicle to transport 1.1 to 1.3 passenger-driver if it can be done with a 1000 lbs automated e-vehicle?
Posted by: HarveyD | 16 September 2014 at 07:28 AM