Electric car sharing has been heralded as the future of transportation and the end of private car ownership. But after six years, Paris has ended their electric car-sharing program Autolib after the City Hall decided to end the contract. Unveiled in 2011, Autolib's electric car sharing service was meant to revolutionize the transportation sector in the city. With 150,000 users and their iconic silver-colored small cars, they have become a part of the visual aspect of Paris.
However, persistent issues with cleanliness, problems with parking and booking, in addition to rising competition from other transportation alternatives such as Uber, has pushed the service into the red. Bollore SA, the conglomerate that operates Autolib, forcasted losses of 293 million euros over the next five years. Autolib was originally supposed to make a profit of 56 million euros by the end of their contract in 2023. That report has prompted the city has decided to pull the plug on the project early. Marie Bollore, who operates Blue Solutions, a subsidiary of the Bollore group, which operates Autolib was flabbergasted to learn of the decision to terminate the contract from the French press and not from the elected union itself that is responsible for monitoring the car-sharing program, Bollore also contributes the losses to the "changing mobility patterns of Parisians."
"There have been changes in urban mobility: there was the arrival of minicabs which was a very strong competition, there were fewer commuter trips between Paris and the suburbs, which would have increased rental time." Another explanation regarding the cleanliness of the vehicles, which sometimes are found dirty and damaged is due to homeless people using the vehicles to sleep in. The vehicles are left in a pitiful state and the customers are more disappointed by the more and more dirty vehicles. An Autolib employee was reported saying "they are full of cigarettes, lighters, bottles, bags with rubbish. People take drugs int the cars."