The car-sharing service Montreal's Communauto wants to imitate has by-the-minute rental rates. Vancouver has already signed on. ((car2go website))

Quebec's Communauto car-sharing service is banking on the popularity of the city's bike-sharing system, Bixi, to launch a new initiative of pay-by-the-minute car rentals.

As part of the plan, Communauto wants to have 400 cars spread around locations in downtown, similar to the way the Bixi is distributed.

"People would be able to take the car without reservation and without time limits," said Marco Viviani, a spokesperson for Communauto, which wants to reduce the number of private vehicles on the road.

Cars could be returned to either designated parking spots, or any legal parking spot, and a smartphone will be able to tell customers where to find the nearest available vehicle.

Viviani said the cost has not been finalized, but an initial estimate is customers would pay $0.50 a minute, $14 an hour, with a maximum charge of $65 a day.

Other details that remain hazy are the type of cars that will be used and insurance issues.

Communauto is in preliminary talks with the city, which would have to approve the plan.

The car-sharing system which Communauto would like to imitate is called Car2Go.

It started in Germany in 2008, spread to Austin, Tx. the following year, and Vancouver has just announce it will have 225 cars in June 2011.