French billionaire Vincent Bolloré unveiled plans to bring the Autolib’ electric car-sharing program from Paris to London, with 3,000 EVs to be placed on the streets of the UK capital by 2016. Bolloré, who is CEO of the Bolloré Group which set up the Autolib’ program in Paris in 2011, said electric car hire could help cut congestion and reduce pollution in London.
“Pollution becomes a nightmare… so many cities where you can’t even go out and the planes can’t take off and you have to solve this problem,” Bolloré told Reuters at the launch of the program.
Bolloré said the London car hire scheme would be serviced by 6,000 charging points installed around the city by 2018, up from the current 1,400. Users will be able to hire a car for £10 ($16.6) an hour, using a smartphone app to find a pick-up point, then leave the car at one of the locations.
The billionaire said 100 of the Pininfarina-designed Bolloré Bluecars will arrive in London in 2015, with the rest to follow in 2016. Drivers will receive a card that will act as a key, with cars even remembering their favorite radio station.
The Bolloré Group will invest £100 million ($166.6 million) in London’s yet-to-be-named EV-sharing program, with around £60 million ($100 million) to be spent each year on maintaining vehicles and running the business.
In Paris, the Autolib’ car-sharing scheme has around 12,000 rentals a day with over 4,800 charge points. Started in 2011, the program is expected to break even in November this year.
Bolloré also has similar programs in Lyon and Bordeaux and plans to open its first U.S. scheme this year in Indianapolis, Indiana with 500 cars and 1,000 charge points.
By Dan Mihalascu
Image Credits: Autolib’