I’ve been in love with carsharing since I used it for a few years in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 13 to 16 years ago. (13 to 16 years ago?!?!? Where did the time go???) Electric carsharing, of course, is approximately 30× better. One of several electric carsharing programs around the world is ZITY, Renault’s own carsharing program, and it is expanding again for some lucky residents of France.
How many cars are going to the new locale of Boulogne-Billancourt, France? 500! That’s 500 fully electric Renault ZOEs.
The extra special thing about this news is that Renault was apparently “born in a garden in the Billancourt district in 1898.” It must feel quite cool to launch a carsharing program there today. The town certainly appreciates its historic automotive roots.
“The legendary factory siren was acquired, restored and recently installed in Place Jules Guesde by the mayor of the town.”
This ZITY expansion complements even greener mobility options that have been growing around the region, including the Vélib’ bikesharing program, electric scooter sharing, and electric buses.
How To Use ZITY
There’s nothing new or crazy about the ZITY carsharing program compared to other electric car programs, but in case this is a new concept for you, here’s a quick explainer:
Thanks to the ZITY mobile application, users can view on a map, at any time of the day or night, the vehicle closest to their position. Reservation is instantaneous and the vehicle is unlocked via the application. To end the rental, the vehicle must be parked in Paris, on any public square above ground and locked. However, it is possible to park temporarily outside the service area using the “Stand by” mode.
- The cars offer 5 real seats and are equipped with reverse camera, proximity sensors, GPS, touch screen and cruise control.
- Child seats are present in more than 150 vehicles and those equipped with them are immediately identifiable via a “pacifier” icon via the mobile application at no extra cost.
- A guaranteed battery level displayed thanks to the on-board technology in the Renault ZOE ZITY allows all the information on the dashboard, including the battery level, to be displayed in real time. Below the minimum required level, the vehicle is no longer available for hire and is quickly recharged by the ZITY teams.
- The availability and intelligent positioning of vehicles: the high level of autonomy of the ZOE batteries allows less frequent recharging and therefore a greater number of vehicles available on the streets. ZITY’s high-performance IT platform enables intelligent and rapid repositioning of vehicles after maintenance to guarantee users will find vehicles easily and at a short distance.
Naturally, the ZITY team is following several new procedures before and after charging, driving, and working on the cars, including wearing masks when around others, washing their hands obsessively, and systematically disinfecting “the points of contact with users’ hands.” And they recommend users also wear masks and wash their hands before and after using the cars.
All images courtesy Groupe Renault.