French electric car-sharing service launches in US
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, 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.
© 2015 AFP