The Bollore Group is launching in the United States a car-sharing program for electric vehicles similar to its current offerings in France. The group will invest about $35 million to create the BlueIndy car-sharing service in Indianapolis, which will commence operations within eight months.
BlueIndy is planned to employ up to 500 of Bollore's Bluecars and 1,000 charging stations, French billionaire Vincent Bollore told Forbes in an interview. He remarked it would be good to start the program in a medium-size US city, where the company could show that the electric car is the “best solution for the future."
Bollore is targeting American drivers wanting to gain access to an environment-friendly alternative to conventional combustion cars. Drivers can rent the Bluecars for as little as $10 an hour. Bollore remarked that the car-sharing program needs at least 20,000 annual subscribers to be able to achieve a breakeven in Indianapolis.
The Bluecars – which has a range of around 150 miles (250 kilometers) per single charge – were designed by Italy's Pininfarina studio in Turin and built by Cecomp. Bollore is currently operating its Autolib car-sharing program in Paris and similar services in Lyon and Bordeaux.
Its Autolib program boasts of around 12,000 rentals a day and operates over 4,800 charge points. Autolib expects to achieve a breakeven ahead of its expected target in November 2014. In March 2014, Bollore unveiled plans to introduce by 2016 a car-sharing program in London, United Kingdom, financed by a GBP100-million investment.
The London program will feature 3,000 electric cars. The group, through its Blue Solutions unit, builds lithium metal polymer batteries for its electric cars.
He said that those batteries are cheaper than lithium ion cells used in other electric cars, bringing down the cost of its small vehicles. Bollore aims to expand the car-sharing program to other locations in the US like California as well as to other countries like China. [source: Forbes]