Vincent Bollore hopes his Pininfarina-designed EV will help clear the arteries of Paris

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 8, 2011

Billionaire Vincent Bollore believes that he has the solution for the traffic in Paris: his Pininfarina-designed bubble-shaped electric cars. If this product takes off, Bollore’s growing battery business will get a major boost. These Autolib cars could be hired for a two-month trial beginning last Monday. Motorists are required to pay a membership fee starting at 10 euros for one day of driving and a hire fee of 4-8 euros per half hour.

Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe masterminded this 235 million euro ($321 million) project, which he expects will achieve at least the same success as his bicycle-sharing scheme dubbed Velib. This effort was launched in 2007.

Already, many cities in France and even overseas have copied the Velib, says Autonews. The bubble-shaped electric cars have the potential to be a platform for Bollore's industrial conglomerate, which is building the BlueCar vehicles in the scheme. These use a lithium-metal-polymer battery, which uses a technology that’s different from the one used on lithium-ion batteries.

Bollore told reporters that this project is expected to be profitable starting on the seventh year. This scheme is a bit similar to car clubs like the City Car that permit members to hire a local car for as short a period as one hour. Autolib General Manager Morald Chibout said that the automaker seeks to convince people to make the shift from the concept of owning a car to that of using a car.

To construct the car rental stations, Paris has spent 35 million euros ($47.8 million) while nearby regions have made a contribution of 50,000 for every station. For each car space, a 750 euros annual fee will be paid by the Bollore group, which has invested 200 million euros in the project.

Topics: electric car

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