See You In Paris! — Talkin’ Bikes, Electric Scooters, & Electric Carsharing At Autonomy

  • Published on October 7th, 2017

One of the coolest events in the world — Autonomy — is coming up in a couple of weeks in Paris (that’s in France, in case you haven’t heard of the city). I will be moderating two discussions there, but not the typical EV industry or solar industry stuff that I’m often tapped for.

Autonomy Conference ParisBy Zachary Shahan 

Autonomy is a unique (awesome) event in part because it crosses industries and topics in order to tackle urban mobility in a holistic way. In the two sessions I will be moderating, we will be discussing bicycling, electric cars, electric carsharing, electric scooters, city planning, and “new mobility solutions,” among other things.

No doubt about it, I personally understand the pull to become a leader in one specific technology or subject and then spend much of your waking life on that narrow expertise. It’s an aspect of modern culture that CleanTechnica has clearly embraced, especially as a couple of cleantech industries have grown super quickly and we’ve been forced to choose how we split up and roll out our ~15 articles a day. But that doesn’t mean I think it’s completely healthy for us to have such a narrow focus, and I actually think this approach comes with some big cons.

My thesis advisor for my undergraduate degree in sociology and environmental studies performed his doctoral dissertation at Harvard specifically on the societal challenges of specialization. Comments on that topic have stuck with me for over a decade, as the problematic results of increasing specialization pop out time and time again. And it doesn’t take a modern Plato to see that is as true in urban mobility as in other arenas, but the friction lying latent between various urban mobility solutions is something I’ve ended up delving into from multiple angles — from my master’s degree in transportation and land use planning at UNC–Chapel Hill and the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, to my giant global megaphone on the transition to electric cars.

I see the conflict of various solutions arise on a regular basis, and I’ve been on multiple sides of the story in a few key roles:

◊  As director of a nonprofit focused on promoting and enabling bicycling, walking, mass transit, and sustainable development. (10 years ago)

◊  As director of one of the leading electric car news & analysis sites in the world, CleanTechnica. (2010–2017)

◊  As co-founder of electric carsharing & chauffeur/taxi startups. (2016–2017)

Key questions that I think aren’t asked often enough — let alone answered — include:

  • How should we balance investments in bicycling infrastructure, transit improvements, and electric car incentives?
  • How does electric Autonomy Conference Pariscar promotion harm other green modes and the livability of cities?
  • How should efforts on each of these topics integrate with the others to more effectively pull people out of gas/diesel cars?

These are some of these topics we’ll discuss in the two sessions I’ll be leading in Paris.

I’m honored to now share with you the list of European and global leaders who will join me to discuss these topics on October 20, as well as the precise session titles:

Are Two Wheels Better than Four? (14:00–14:45)
Joseph Constanty, Niu Technologies
Jerome Valentin, CEO Cycleurope / President UNIVELO
Albane Siramy, Global Director Coporate Affairs & Sustainability, Ujet
Emmanuel Gombault, Directeur des Groupements, de l’Outre-Mer et des Dom-Tom, Allianz France
Zachary Shahan, Director & Chief Editor, CleanTechnica
New Mobility Solutions for Old Pollution Problems (14:45–15:30)
Janette Sadik-Khan, Principal, Bloomberg Associates
Karima Delli, Chair, European Parliament Transport and Tourism committee
Christophe Arnaud, Director General, Bollore BlueSolutions UK/US West
Zachary Shahan, Director & Chief Editor, CleanTechnica

I have to disclose that Janette Sadik-Khan is one of my heroes, so I’m thrilled to be introduced to her in such a format.

For much more information about the conference and to get tickets, head over to Autonomy.Paris.


(Originally appeared at our sister-site, Cleantechnica.)

About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to and click on the relevant buttons.