Electric car sharing project launches in Prague

Fifteen Volkswagen e-Golf cars can be borrowed, and parking is free

Prague is launching a program called Sdílení elektromobilů for sharing electric vehicles. The project by carsharing company Car4way is in cooperation with Prague City Hall, Pražská energetika (PRE) and Porsche Czech Republic.

It already has been possible to borrow a small electric car and park for free in the center. Now it is possible to borrow a Volkswagen e-Golf because the carsharing company has gotten better conditions from Prague so the program can be further expanded.

Some 15 Volkswagen e-Golf electric cars with a range of up to 300 kilometers are in the first phase of the program. People can use a smartphone app to find a car and reserve it, and then unlock it with a chip card. The electric cars can park in blue and violet zones for free. Usually these zones require paid parking fees. There is a rate per hour to borrow the car, but the first 100 km are at no additional cost.

Prague Mayor Adriana Krnáčová said that the carsharing program would reduce the number of cars in the city.

Car4way already has electric cars in Prague, but the Volkswagen e-Up! model has a small range, low transport capacity and needed to be parked at charging stands, while the e-Golf can park anywhere.

Carsharing is for people who do not want to pay to have their own car because they use one only occasionally or for people who sometimes need a second car or need a larger car for a specific trip.

Cars can be ordered online through an app and the client has a chip card that can unlock the door.

The pilot project will run one year so the company can judge the amount of interest in sharing electric cars. Pavel Louda of Car4way said that at the same time, more charging stations need to be built to make using the cars easier. Car4way and PRE will evaluated the progress of the project each month.

PRE board chairman Pavel Elis said that interest in charging stations has grown greatly since 2011 when they were first built and especially during the past two years. People building new family homes are also showing interest in adding them.

PRE currently operates 34 recharging stations in Prague and about 80 in the Czech Republic. Mayor Krnáčová said the city intends to support the development of electric car infrastructure, and the city is in the process of hiring a firm to install 59 more stations in the city.

Four companies in the Czech Republic offer to carshare. The largest is Car4way, which has about 240 cars in Prague, the other companies have about 60 cars.

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