In Germany, a different kind of electronic revolution(Read article summary)
Germany aims to get visitors who arrive in the country by train to use a car sharing program that relies on electric cars to get to their final destination.
â€˘ A local, slice-of-life story from a Monitor correspondent.
Visitors exiting the train terminals of Europeâ€™s main commercial capitals here can choose from among a plethora of transportation modes to reach their final destinations: cab, subway, tramway, or bike.
In Frankfurt, now they can also rent one of the funky-looking, tiny cars on display outside Frankfurtâ€™s megastation, either a Smart-Fortwo or a CitroĂ«n C1. The little vehicles are silent, emit no carbon dioxide, can be recharged right on the train stationâ€™s square, and go as fast as 60 miles per hour.
Getting train passengers to use the electric cars is part of German Chancellor Angela Merkelâ€™s ambitious electric revolution. To cut carbon emissions and lower the countryâ€™s oil dependency, the Merkel government last year pledged to put 1 million electric vehicles on German roads by 2020 and 6 million by 2030.
The train-to-electric-car collaboration, known as â€ścar sharingâ€ť here, is one of a booming number of pilot projects across Germany designed to spur â€śelectromobility,â€ť from hybrid buses in Hamburg to electric bicycles in Stuttgart. They are helping foster what Andreas Knie, head of the Innovation Center for mobility and societal change at Technical University in Berlin, calls a â€śnew mobility culture.â€ť
â€śIn the future, weâ€™re going to have to get away from the idea that everybody can own their own cars.â€ť says Mr. Knie. â€śThe idea that we use the same car to go to the supermarket around the corner or go on vacation to Italy is an idea of the past.â€ť