Bolloré BlueCar electric car used for Autolib' car-sharing service in Paris, September 2012Enlarge Photo
Visit French capital Paris, and it won't be long before you see a Bollore Bluecar running about.
The small, quirky electric car is part of the city's Autolib' car sharing service. Bluecars dotted around Parisian streets wait for anyone wishing to borrow them, for anything from a few minutes to several hours.
Of all U.S. cities you'd expect to find a similar system, Indianapolis might not top the list. But Mayor Greg Ballard has laid the foundations for exactly that.
Those vehicles would be joined by 1,200 charging stations, clustered in up to 200 places--making it the largest all-electric car-sharing service in the U.S.
Autolib's strength, says Indystar, is in its shorter-term business model, with no need to return the car to the same location it was picked up in. Cars can be rented for brief journeys--a hop across the city, for example--and returned to one of the many other charging stations.
It's going down a storm in Paris, the company's latest figures showing its 1,800 Bluecars have taken over 2 million trips through Paris since late 2011, with 82,000 subscriptions sold. Just eight months ago, those figures were half a million trips and 37,000 subscriptions.
Cars can be reserved by smartphone and picked up using an access card swiped against a reader on the windshield--the cars in Indy will use a similar system.
What Indianapolis won't be getting is a fleet of Bollore Bluecars like those used in Paris.
Instead, Autolib' plans to use either the Ford Focus Electric, or the familiar Nissan Leaf, as part of its car-sharing service. Both are more suitable for U.S. roads (and indeed, legal and federalized for U.S. use) than the French electric vehicle.
Mayor Ballard hopes the service will attract more international visitors to the city and raise its profile--providing an easy and inexpensive way for travelers to move about.
Would you like to see such a system in your own city? And would you visit Indianapolis to experience the city from an electric vehicle? Leave your thoughts with us below.