Indianapolis is hallowed ground for gearheads, but the home of the Indy 500 is about to make automotive news that has nothing to do with checkered flags.
The Bollore Group – chaired by French billionaire Vincent Bolloré – will invest $35 million to create BlueIndy, a sort of beachhead for the electric car-sharing service in Indianapolis. Set to launch in eight months, it will use up to 500 Bollore “Bluecars” and 1,000 charging stations, according to Bloomberg.
Bolloré reportedly chose Indianapolis because it wanted to start with a medium-sized city, which is hardly surprising. For the program to break even in the city it will need at least 20,000 annual subscribers paying a minimum of $10 an hour to rent an electric car. That compares favorably with the $21.60 it costs to to rent an electric BMW ActiveE for the same length of time in San Francisco.
The cars are already used by the Autolib service in Paris and feature Bollore’s own lithium-polymer battery packs for an estimated 150 miles of range.
If things go well in Indianapolis, Bollore reportedly wants to expand to other US cities. Electric-car friendly California would seem like a logical next step, considering its citizens’ enthusiasm for both plug-in cars and ownership alternatives like car sharing and ride sharing.
Bollore’s chief rival will likely be Daimler’s Car2Go, which operates a mix of gasoline and electric Smart ForTwo city cars in 28 cities worldwide, including San Diego, Austin, and Seattle.
BMW also operates a fleet of electric cars as part of its DriveNow car-sharing service in the San Francisco Bay Area.
By establishing itself in an area that isn’t known for electric-car enthusiasm, Bollore appears to be taking a bit of a risk. On the other hand, there won’t be any competition from Car2Go or DriveNow in Indianapolis or, for that matter, public transit.
If the concept proves successful in the home of Gasoline Alley, perhaps Bollore Bluecars will become a common sight on streets in other US cities.
This post appeared first on ecomento.com