Dozens of electric cars from the defunct BlueIndy car-sharing service were sent to a scrapyard, as the City of Indianapolis mulls what to do with leftover charging stations, according to local news reports.
The Bollore BlueCars—purpose-built for BlueIndy and other car-sharing services operated by France's Bollore Group—are waiting to be scrapped, although some cars in better condition will be sent to Los Angeles for use in that city, reports Fox 59.
BlueIndy launched in 2015 and, nine months out, had 2,100 members paying $9.99 per month for a one-year membership, plus 20 cents per mile. Local Indianapolis businesses fought dedicated parking spaces and charging stations for the car-sharing service, however.
The service expanded to L.A., as BlueLA, and also started service in Singapore, in 2018 and 2019, but announced the shut down of Indianapolis operations in late 2019, followed by the closure of a short-lived London operation earlier this year.
BlueIndy electric-car sharing station and European Bollore BlueCar, Indianapolis, Indiana, May 2014
When it announced the end of operations, BlueIndy said it had 11,000 members, who had taken a combined 180,000 trips since 2015, but claimed the service still wasn't profitable, according to IndyStar.
The website cited customer-service issues as well as the decentralized nature of Indianapolis, which made it more difficult to locate stations conveniently. The Spartan nature of the cars, which Green Car Reports experienced in a 2014 test drive ahead of BlueIndy's opening, might have also been an issue.
With the cars gone, city officials must decide what to do with the charging stations left behind.
The approximately 90 stations are owned directly by Bollore Group, while the underlying electrical infrastructure—spanning 400 parking spaces—is owned by utility Indianapolis Power and Light, according to IndyStar. The city has until September 21 to decide whether to buy the charging stations, the website reported.
The existing stations and electrical infrastructure could give Indianapolis the charging network EV advocates in other cities dream about, but officials are likely to face continued pressure from businesses that want parking spaces to be returned to public use for their customers.
[h/t John Voelcker]