Let’s face it, the economy isn’t too hot right now and everyone knows it. Most Americans are facing a shift in their buying habits, leaning more towards conserving rather than spending while trying to trim costs wherever they can. Rightfully so, as a tightened job market continues to leave many in uncertainty and student loans reaching the $1 trillion mark, the list of problems we face day to day can sometimes seem to stretch on forever. The economic struggle is leaking onto the automotive world as well, used cars are by far more favorable nowadays versus the new car alternative; 40.5 million used cars were bought just last year according to CNW Research. There in itself lies another problem (we’ll stop depressing you soon, I promise). AAA states that the average age of cars on the road are at an all time high of 11 years old, and cars that old aren’t typically known for saving gas. However, french billionaire Vincent Bollore may have a solution to that problem that could lead to many Americans cutting down on annual expenses.
The project is called BlueIndy, an electric-car sharing service in Indianapolis modeled after Autolib’, an operation which serves the same function in Paris, France. Vincent started Autolib’ in 2011 and his French investment company, Bolloré aims to take what is a success in his home country onto the streets of Indy. Autolib’ is geared towards public use via paid subscribers who have access to electric vehicles at numerous charging stations located across the city. In September of 2013, Bolloré had 2,000 EVs on the roads of Paris while having hit 105,000 subscribers a month and a half later.
Indianapolis will be the first city in the U.S. to get a taste of the electric-car sharing service and hopefully for Bollore, spark a trend that would make his company millions or possibly billions if implemented across the nation. Vincent is investing roughly $35 million along with $16 million from the city of Indianapolis to kickstart this idea which would register 500 of Bolloré’s Bluecars accompanied with 1,000 charging stations.
Potential subscribers will definitely want a breakdown of the numbers before diving into such a foreign (literally) concept. The car’s rental cost falls at the low price of $10 an hour which seems very reasonable. Accompanied with a full charge that lets you to go 150 miles, its safe to say at almost $5 a gallon for gas, this would be a very cheap alternative. However, Bolloré and the city of Indianapolis are both concerned about their own money as well. In order to make ends meet. Vincent said that they will need 20,000 annual subscribers in a city of 835,000, or just about 2.4% of Indy’s population. Bollore believes that it will take 5-7 years to turn a profit although sooner is a possibility as well.