Yes! We tested self-service electric cars in Strasbourg

Launched in 2015 by the Strasbourg Citizen Cooperative, Yea! is a car-sharing service that allows you to rent a car without a reservation and then leave it anywhere within a certain perimeter. In early May, four urban electric cars joined the self-service fleet. Since I don’t have a car and still wanted to catch some fresh air Strasbourg, I decided to try the concept … And share my experience with you!

Strasbourg is a city where you can easily get around by bike or public transport. But sometimes, for a move, a quick trip, a getaway to the Vosges, it happens that you need a car. Some have one that sleeps in a free parking area, or for which they pay a resident subscription. Others borrow from friends. But it is also possible to rent one, thanks to Citiz.

Founded in 2002, this cooperative society of collective interest (SCIC) promotes car sharing. This system reduces the number of cars parked in urban areas. which means more bike racks for cyclists or more places on the terrace, depending on where you are – as it is estimated that a shared car replaces nine private cars. It also allows reduce pollutant emissions by modifying the behavior of motoristswho learn to be less dependent on their vehicle and to favor other means of transportation.

© Annika Lenze / Pokaa

Before driving, you must register

Citiz now has two services: the classic Citiz, blue and white, of all sizes, distributed in stations and usable only with reservation. And the Yea !, red and white self-service city cars, parked all over the area from Neudorf to Bischeim, and from Cronenbourg to the Conseil des XV. A fleet of about sixty cars, which has four electric vehicles since early May. But how exactly does it work?

It all starts with registration. A single registration, which offers the possibility to use Citiz or Yea !. I start the procedure on the Citiz’s website: I’m asked to enter a certain amount of personal information – name, address, etc., as well as the items that appear on my driver’s license. The site also requires an ID, a proof of residence less than three months old, my driver’s license, and a photo of me with this license next to my head. Wouldn’t it be easier to register with the Citiz app? It interrupts me to download it and continue effectively more easily, having the possibility to upload the dematerialized version of the pieces or take a photo from the app.

In the next step, I find that the record is loaded, because I didn’t read the cover page carefully enough. 40 euros in normal fare, 20 euros for job seekers, under 27, public transport subscribers, Vélhop, Vélocation, Locacycles, Badgéo cardholders, Le Pass and SNCF cards, members of CADR67 and CADR68, Bretz ‘selle, Ircos-Cezam and the Hiero Federation. It is full of people. These costs especially cover the validation of the registration, done manually, in a maximum of two working days. Better not check in at the last minute hoping to run to the car right after.

A 3 month registration, fuel and insurance included

My online registration allows me to try out the Citiz subscription formula for three months. This saves me a security deposit and allows me to pay on the way, by credit card. Okay, but how’s it going after three months? I was confused about the registration fees, but I prefer to be careful about the subscription, because who has ever been subscribed to something to forget about ending an offer at the end of the trial period? It takes a bit of searching on the site, but I’ve finally found the information: At the end of these 3 free months, the user can choose to keep the formula “With subscription” or choose the formula “Without subscription”, whichever is most suitable for use. » There are no unpleasant surprises in sight. This would also benefit from being more clear, for example at the time of registration!

If you want to continue after this trial period, the subscription increases to 16 euros per month. Allows you to rent a Citiz S (small size) or a Yea! at 2.50 euros per hour and 0.39 euros per kilometer. For the Yes! Support is added to each new rental 2.50 euros. Without subscription, prices are 5 euros per hour (and still 0.39 euros per kilometer). And, important detail: fuel and insurance are included in the rent.

Unlock, get started!

My registration is validated, I take advantage of a free afternoon to plan a walk around the island in La Wantzenau. And while I’m at it, I also take the opportunity to pick up things that are bulky enough so I don’t want to take them by bike or tram to a friend’s house in Meinau. I live between Contades and Orangerie and the Citiz app allows me to geolocate the different cars in my house, giving me information about the model and how much fuel is left. I opt for an electric Renault Zoé with 47% battery and backup. This is a handy aspect of Yea! : if the offer was designed to be able to borrow a car on a whim, it still allows you to make a small reservation, time to get ready and get on the road, for example. This may take up to 24 hours before use.

He drives the car then. I automatically notice that the windshield was christened by Orangerie storks. Should I declare when assessing the cleanliness of the vehicle? No, not necessarily, confirms the Citiz Grand Est agency at the end of my rental. Then I remove the app to unlock the vehicle doors. A voice echoes in the passenger compartment to give me the procedure to follow: open the glove box to grab the box, enter my user pin code, write down the car cleaning and remove the keys from the box. A little lost, I take time to run while the voice renews its message. The scene has something futuristic about it: here I am in an episode of K 2000 to negotiate with KIIT. However, you end up telling me that it is possible to end this voice guide by disabling beginner mode in the app.

The keys are placed in the storage compartment, press the brake and the start button, because it is an automatic gearbox, like all Yea electric cars! And we will take a 20 minute drive to Wantzenau. An extremely quiet trip requires an electric motor. It’s not nasty. If the first few minutes I’m a little scared, it doesn’t take long for me to forget that I’m driving a rental car, as driving is very easy, even for me who is used to driving with a manual transmission. On the other hand, I look at the vehicle’s meter with some concern: a reflection of someone who is used to recharging the phone when it drops below 50%. If braking allows the system to recharge slightly, the battery will slowly drain. I come to the brink of evil with 37% autonomy. There is no particular procedure here, I grab the keys and lock the vehicle before going out for a walk.

© Annika Lenze / Pokaa

Park and recharge smoothly

Back, I open it again with the keys to get behind the wheel. This time a bit of a fast lane awaits me, but it goes as well as traffic in urban areas. Except that the battery necessarily discharges a little faster. Arrival in La Meinau, loading my things, returning home. And for once, you don’t have to look for a free parking space or pay attention to the fare zone I’m in. I can park in the back of the house, as I’m on the perimeter Yes! I put the key back in my suitcase, check that I haven’t forgotten anything and indicate to the app that I’ve finished renting and closing the doors.

© Annika Lenze / Pokaa

And full then? Attached to the box is a card to go to an electrical terminal, but Citiz does not oblige its Yea! to recharge them at the end of use. If the car goes below 20% battery, it is removed from the reserves, while a technician takes it to the nearest recharge. Another good point about this service: Yes! being rather short, we can understand that users do not want to spend 1 hour and 10 minutes in the terminal (charging time of an electric Zoe in accelerated charging, 30 minutes in ultrafast charging, still underdeveloped in Strasbourg). Electricity is currently being tested for Yea !, and Citiz is looking for its model: call the technicians for recharging, or let the customer do it by counting down the recharging time of the rental. SCIC is currently taking advantage of the 70 power terminals that are being deployed in the Eurometropolis to start a global transition of its Yea! to electric.

Experience assessment: rather positive! The vehicle is especially suitable for driving in the city and being able to park anywhere is a real advantage. If, for example, I had a car that was only used to travel around the city or the Eurometropolis, I think I could resell it and let myself be tempted by this service. The fact that petrol and insurance are included in the rent makes the offer attractive, especially at the moment with a price on the pump that flirts with 2 euros per liter. The service is also easy to use. The test, less than 24 hours after the car returned, had already left my street. In short, a simple car-sharing solution. ecologically and economically accessible, which offers a great alternative to the private car!


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© Annika Lenze / Pokaa

* Supported article though not reviewed by Citiz.

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