True Green Cities / Celebrating One Year – Wishing You Were Here (You Darling French Electric Car!)

An Autolib pay-for-hire electric car at an electric vehicle charging station on Avenue Victor Hugo in Paris.

The Prius has nothing on Europe’s Electric Cars Electric vehicle charging stations line the main avenues of Paris.  There are even some just for electric bicycles, some for cars and some for bigger trucks and vans.  There is an online map for the EV charging stations.  Every EV charging station I saw was in use including the pay-as-you-drive cars.  Autolib has 1200 pay-as-you-drive electric car rental stations. According to autorevolution.com  Autolib is a collaboration between Italian car designer Pininfarina, the local council and French conglomerate Groupe Bollore. It’s believed to offer a range of 250 kilometers on a full charge and under city driving conditions. To use the EVs, Parisians are charged hourly for between €4 and €9 on top of a registration charge.  Other charging stations in the city include the "Ville de Paris" charging station, which is found throughout the city and is intended for charging up to 4 EV´s on public streets, with a payment system. Where Smaller is Better

Traffic whipping around the Arc de Triomphe in the Place Charles de Gaulle. We saw only one Escalade the entire week we were in Paris.

It’s embarrassing to return from a trip to Europe and see all of the gas hogs that Americans drive.  Where monsters are the norm here, the tinier the better there.  In the past 24 hours I have driven 750 miles in the Northeast/MidAtlantic and in that 24 hours I came within minutes of a massive accident four times.  Out of the 4, 3 involved vehicles that were flipped over.  And other than the motorcycles involved in one, all the involved vehicles were oversized.  A friend said to me today that if we were forced to go smaller we would and could, but it would probably take an Act of Congress literally to make us all replace our gas guzzlers with a smaller car any where near as green as the European cars.  When it comes to cars and transportation in general, we have a long way to go. Celebrating One Year This week is the one year anniversary of my firm, BAC/Architecture + Planning, PLLC. In honor of that, I am writing a blog a day for at least the next five days.  I’m hoping that if I get into the habit of writing daily it might just stick!  Thank you to all my readers, clients and colleagues for making this past year so wonderful and memorable. And if you'd like to "subscribe" or follow this blog, True Green Cities, please sign up through the "Subscribe" button at the bottom right of this page.      
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