The Autolib’ electric car rental scheme set to roll out in Paris in December is facing a challenge from more traditional car rental firms including Hertz and Avis. The hire companies are complaining that the scheme, which will allow tourists and residents in the French capital pick up a vehicle from docking stations around the city, has been unfairly backed by city hall and is publically subsidised.

The scheme follows the successful introduction of the Velib’ bicycle hire initiative, a programme which has since been adopted in London. Customers will be able to choose from around 700 Autolib’ cars when they are delivered to Paris at the end of the year. They will then be able to drive away for just €5 for the first half-hour.

The administrative tribunal which has heard the case presented by the group representing the rental organisations has a few weeks to assess the evidence and decide whether there should be any changes to the Autolib’ programme.

The Autolib’ cars will have four-seats and a battery capable of powering the vehicles for 250km on a full-charge. They are currently being built in Turin. About the size of a mini, the blue coloured cars will also be equipped with a GPS navigation system, a radio and a computer which locates empty docking stations.

As well as the rental fee there will also be a fee to join the scheme. This will cost customers €144 for a year, €15 for a week and €10 for a day.