The Bollore Group, the French company behind the highly successful Autolib electric car sharing program in Paris, has just announces its first U.S. venture — a massive car share service in Indianapolis.
Due to go live within the next eight months, the BlueIndy Electric Car sharing program will number some 500 cars in total, alongside 200 service kiosks and 1,000 charging points. Like the original Autolib service in Paris, BlueIndy will make use of its own specially-designed electric cars — known as the Bollore Bluecar — instead of ones from mainstream automakers.
Designed by Pininfarina, the Bollore BlueCar is a three-door city vehicle with seating for four. Under the floor of the car lies a 30 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack coupled to a small supercapacitor, while power is delivered to the wheels via a 50 kilowatt electric motor. Intended primarily for city use rather than highway use, the Bollore BlueCar is supposedly capable of a range of up to 160 miles in the city, with a highway capable top speed of 81 mph.
To make use of one of the many hundreds of BlueCars BlueIndy will deploy to Indianapolis, users will first have to register at one of the 200 service kiosks BlueIndy plans to deploy through the city. Containing a video conferencing system, credit card reader, scanner and smart card dispenser, those who want to sign up use the kiosk to connect to a BlueIndy representative, who will scan their drivers’ license remotely, take a membership fee, and dispense the RFID card.
Once registered, customers can then make bookings through any of the service kiosks, via smartphone app and the BlueIndy website.
For Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, who has been striving to promote energy security in the city by reducing its reliance on foreign oil, the honor of being the first U.S. city to welcome the French one hundred per cent electric car share service is monumental.
“This is an unprecedented announcement,” he said. “electric vehicles and car sharing are the future. Bollore, one of the world’s largest companies, will replicate its successful service outside of France and bring to the City the benefits of an innovative, economical and environmentally friendly mode of transportation. Indianapolis is breaking new grounds and hopes to lead the way for other U.S. cities.
Being home to the famous Indy 500 race at the Indianapolis Speedway every Memorial Day weekend, the new BlueIndy service may even turn some hardened gear-jamming motor racing fans into EV advocates, especially if they’re on the lookout for a cheap, affordable car to rent while visiting town.
As for those of us elsewhere in the world? Bollore says it has plans for many other U.S. cities and other countries too, so if you’re not within reach of a Bollore BlueCar right now, the chances are you soon will be.
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