Today is the opening day for the Autolib' in Paris. Autolib' is a network of 100% electric self service cars. It is based on the success of the Velib' the self-service bicycles that we've been using. Today, 250 of these hit the road, with 2000 expected by next summer.
Patrice loves being on the leading edge of new technologies, and so he was one of the first to sign up for a year's subscription. He received his electronic card in the mail this morning, and we went out this afternoon to test the system.
Uh, as with any new system, things didn't go quite as smoothly as planned. . .
We went to the nearest station, held the RFID card up to sensor in the rental kiosk, and . . . . .
Nothing happened. The card didn't seem to work - despite the help of the local Autolib' ambassadors. What to do? Call up customer service . . .
And then we spent almost 2 hours on the phone with four different customer service agents. During that time, a repairman came by to fix the machine - thereby prolonging our wait time.
Meanwhile, both radio and TV stations came by to ask questions . . .
And finally, success! The car greeted us with a "Welcome Patrice Neger" message on the GPS screen.
You can read more about the Autolib' program here.