Une fois n’est pas coutume : un billet en anglais dans nos colonnes. Kathrine Fucarile, une Bostonienne vivant à Paris et sensible aux initiatives de sa compatriote Robin Chase à l’origine de deux projets « collectif-individuels » de mobilité durable : ZipCar (le site et nos commentaires ici, là ou encore là (un pdf) et GoLoCo d’autre part (le site et nos commentaires ici et là. On imagine bien les déclinaisons parisiennes de ces projets au moment où on parle beaucoup d’Autolib et de ses 2000 voitures en libre-service.
If we’re going to combat global warming, fuel-efficient cars are not enough according to Robin Chase, founder of Zipcar. « If we started today, 10 years from now at the end of this window of opportunity, those fuel efficient cars will reduce our fossil fuel needs by 4%. »
At the TED conference in Monterey, California in March 2007 the entrepreneur discussed two avenues she believes we need to take in order to make a serious reduction in our global carbon footprint: market-based pricing and wireless technology.
Ms. Chase hasn’t just been hitting the conference circuit touting theory while leaning on her MIT degree – she’s been walking the walk. As the brain behind the most successful car sharing company world wide – Zipcar, Chase has now launched GoLoco a ridesharing company that uses the Internet site Facebook as an interface to connect drivers and ride-seekers.
Chase is an environmentalist with a nose for business and a passion for technology. Her Zipcar, now 100,000 members strong, has been expanding rapidly while simultaneously reducing the miles driven annually. How did drivers who were driving an average of 12,000 miles per year cut their road time down to an average of 500 miles a year? Market-based pricing.
« People respond very quickly to prices, » Chase explains. The key was to match an accurate dollar value to the hour of using a car– a price that took into consideration all of the hidden costs of driving. « Why do we travel too much? Car travel is under priced and therefore we over consumed. » Once city drivers became Zipcar members, consumers began to make more efficient trips and eventually fewer trips all together.
This virtually free wireless technology that made Zipcar possible was also the only technology to withstand Katrina’s wrath in New Orleans. So why are municipalities nation-wide are not currently jumping at the chance to use this « mesh network » technology? « Because there is no money to be made, » Chase stated. Yet, as an entrepreneur this doesn’t concern her. She firmly believes that information should be free. Her message to companies dragging their feet was – think outside the box. Use a free wireless network to expand your company and make a lot more money elsewhere.
Sur un sujet connexe, Chronos publie à ce jour un Thema sur les innovations nippones en matière d’automobile… A lire ici !
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