Tel Aviv searches for proposals for tender to produce car rental network; initiative aimed at reducing pollution, traffic.

The city of Tel Aviv has sent out a request for information for foreign and domestic companies looking to win a tender to build an electric or hybrid car-sharing system in the city, the municipality announced on Wednesday.

Mayor Ron Huldai sent out the request to gauge the costs of planning, building, maintaining, and operating a municipality-run car-sharing system, one that would be inspired to some extent by the city’s “Tel-O-Fun” bike rental system, which launched in 2011, a press release said.

The city said the initial idea is to have a network of return and rental stations, with cars available for rent at no more than NIS 25 per half hour and available for use within a 100-km. radius.

In a statement on Wednesday, city hall said the decision is meant to help people living in or visiting Tel Aviv to leave behind their personal vehicle and use public transport instead, which will reduce air pollution and traffic.

Tel Avivians “can’t wait around for the needed improvements in the public transportation system in Israel – therefore, we will continue to work with the means at our disposal in order to create alternatives to private cars,” Huldai said in the statement.

The idea of an electric or hybrid car-sharing program was first announced in December, during a press conference to unveil the 2013 budget. At the press conference, the municipality’s director-general Menachem Leibe, spoke of a car-share plan similar to Tel-O-Fun, though on a much smaller scale.

According to the English version of the request for information, which is accessible on the municipality’s website, those looking to apply for the tender have until June 6 to do so.

The point of the project is to reduce by 5 percent the number of cars in the city (257,524, according to 2010 municipal figures), alleviate congestion, parking shortages, reduce air pollution and increase the use of public transport, the request for information says.

Though it appears that for the program to be viable, the cars would probably have to be something along the lines of the Renault Twizy, in use in the electric car-sharing system in France – the request for information says that at least 50 percent of the cars will have four passenger seats, and that the program has not ruled out using gasoline-driven cars.

Different rental options are also being considered, including one under which cars would have to be returned to the same spot they were taken from – though they stipulate that in all likelihood this is not the sort of plan the city is looking for.

Car-sharing programs are in place in hundreds of cities around the world, though electric car-sharing programs complete with charging stations are available in only a handful. Tel Aviv is already served by its own branch of Car2Go, though the company does not operate along the same model of electric car rental and charging stations that the city is proposing.

Launched in 2011, the Tel-O-Fun bike rental program has been something of a success, despite repeated technical malfunctions at its around 150 rental stations around the city.