French electric car-sharing service launches in US

September 5th, 2015 § Comments Off on French electric car-sharing service launches in US § permalink

An electric car-sharing service took to the streets of Indianapolis on Wednesday as its French owner hopes to plug into the vast US market.Bollore Group of France said its BlueIndy service is the first of its kind in the United States, and begins with an initial fleet of 50 electric cars that it plans to expand to 500.

“Indianapolis is the perfect home for our first venture into the American market,” said Cedric Bollore, vice president for development of the global holding company.

“Indy has a vibrant downtown, thriving neighborhoods, and a population that demands innovation and cleaner alternatives to car ownership, and transit options.”

Bollore (Other OTC: BOIVF – news) , a industrial conglomerate that owns businesses in logistics, telecommunications and media, already operates car-sharing services in several other cities, including the world’s largest electric vehicle-sharing service, Autolib’ in Paris.

Indianapolis, with a population of about 850,000, is home to the annual Indianapolis 500 car race. The city is located abut 165 miles (265 km) southeast of Chicago.

Bollore launched IndyBlue with 125 parking spaces equipped with charge stations, with an expansion to 1,000 expected.

Customers swipe a membership card at kiosks to rent one of the battery-driven Bluecars, which can run as far as 120 miles (193 kilometers) without charging.

The standard monthly BlueIndy membership costs $9.99 (8.90 euros) and members pay $4 for the first 20 minutes and 20 cents for each subsequent minute.

“Indianapolis will benefit from technology and processes proven in Paris for the last four years. Now Indy will be the model for North America,” said Cedric Bollore. The company’s electric-vehicle sharing service also operates in Bordeaux, Lyon and Arcachon in France.

According to US media, although BlueIndy has the support of the mayor of Indianapolis, Greg Ballard, it was opposed by certain members of the City-County Council, which delayed its launch initially planned for early 2015.

Will London embrace the Bollore’s ‘mobile love nest’ electric cars? Good Question.

June 14th, 2015 § Comments Off on Will London embrace the Bollore’s ‘mobile love nest’ electric cars? Good Question. § permalink

Forget illicit trysts on Hampstead Heath or an amorous evening at a boutique hotel. According to the French firm charged with bringing electric motoring to the capital, frisky young Londoners could soon be seeking intimacy in tiny battery-powered city cars.Bollore ElectricCar via

The new red electric cars, unveiled to the public for the first time, are part of a £100m project that hopes to turn London into the “green driving” capital of the world and clean up its toxic air.

Before the cars had even got on the move, however, a company spokesman had already been quoted as saying that he expected the scheme to prove popular with young people – who have already used the firm’s cars in Paris to “make love” in. “They use them like a hotel. You can use them for anything,” a spokesman said.

With four seats, a good-sized boot, satellite navigation and a promised range of 150 miles, the Bolloré group’s new ride certainly has the legs for a late-night rendezvous.

The electric cars soon to be launched in London, following Blue Point's take over of the Source London electric car schemeThe electric cars soon to be launched in London, following Blue Point’s take over of the Source London electric car scheme

It was rapidly made clear at the launch, however, that the spokesman’s comments from earlier in the week were merely a “joke” that was lost in translation – and that The Independent’s test in one of the first 10 cars to arrive in the UK would not involve sampling the capital’s more salacious hotspots.

And Christophe Arnaud, director of Bluepoint London, the Bolloré subsidiary running the charging-point network, was also anxious to point out that the firm was not expecting the cars to be impounded by the police on the hunt for those committing acts of public indecency.

First impressions on the car itself are not mind-blowing. The exterior was designed by the same firm that works with Ferrari, but lacks the supercar maker’s inherent sex appeal. And the faux-leather seats and cramped city-car interior hardly makes for a romantic proposition in sticky London summer heat.

Vincent Bollore, chairman of Bollore GroupVincent Bollore, chairman of Bollore Group

While it’s hard to see many people ditching their Range Rovers for one, it’s nippy enough and will work extremely well as an inner-city runabout, which is exactly what it’s designed as.

It’s nippy and quick off the lights, boasts plenty of boot space and has already proved popular in Paris with 200,000 users signed up in the past four years. The as yet-unnamed scheme will allow drivers to rent one for as little as around £10 an hour. In preparation for the scheme’s first 50 cars, Bolloré has taken over the Source London charging network, with the aim of overhauling it entirely to allow a fleet of 3,000 battery-powered Bolloré cars on the road by 2018, making use of 6,000 planned charging points across the capital.

Vincent Bolloré, the chief executive of Bolloré Group, said that the new model would be an “electric car for the people” that would also reduce pollution.

There are currently 1,400 charging point for electric cars in the capital under the Source London scheme that London Mayor, Boris Johnson, set up in 2011 and Bolloré took over last year – but 40 per cent of these are currently out of order.

Critics also point out that the Bolloré scheme is running six months behind schedule after prolonged negotiations with all 27 town halls across London for access.

Stephen Knight, a Liberal Democrat member of the London Assembly, said Boris Johnson’s policies on electric cars have been “half-hearted and poorly implemented” and that the city needed a “rapid switch” to electric buses and taxis to tackle air pollution.

Driving force: Vincent Bolloré

French billionaire Vincent Bolloré, the chairman and chief executive of the group behind the new electric car scheme, has made his fortune by snapping up large stakes in troubled companies and now has interests in everything from communications to transport and logistics.

Bolloré began his career as an investment bank trainee at Edmond de Rothschild before taking control of the Bolloré Group in 1981. A close friend of the former French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, Bolloré transformed the struggling family business from a firm focusing on bible paper and cigarette paper to one of the 500 largest companies in the world.

French firm IER to take over Source London electric car charging network

December 18th, 2013 § Comments Off on French firm IER to take over Source London electric car charging network § permalink

French firm IER has been selected to take over the management of the Source London electric car charging network and membership scheme.

A subsidiary of the Bollore Group— which runs the Autolib electric car club in Paris— IER will take over the Source London’s operations from next summer. IER will be responsible for all ‘back office functions’ including call handling and membership registration which it will manage from its UK offices.

The firm will work with new and existing Source London partners to expand the current charging network of some 1,300 charging stations at over 300 locations. These current locations include supermarkets, shopping centres, council and private car parks, hospitals and on the street – and already make it Europe’s largest urban charging network.

One of the government’s Plugged-in Places-funded schemes, Source London was launched two years ago to use the Government money to establish a network of chargers across the capital.

Transport for London announced back in May that it was seeking a private investor to take over the running of the Source London network under the belief that the electric vehicle market in London had become sufficiently mature to eliminate the need for public subsidy and become a privately-operated network.

With its work with the Autolib network, IER has plenty of experience managing electric vehicle networks.

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