INDIANAPOLIS — The Bollore Bluecar, the compact electric vehicle used in the city’s BlueIndy ride-sharing service, eventually could be offered for sale to individuals and private fleets in the United States.
“We’re in discussions with some large corporations” that want to buy the Bluecar for their fleets, says Scott Prince, BlueIndy’s general manager.
But Bollore Group, the French conglomerate that has signed a 15-year contract with Indianapolis to run BlueIndy here, wants to prove its car with ride-sharing services before attempting U.S. sales, says Cedric Bollore, Bollore Group’s vice president for development.
“We do not have a timetable for selling our Bluecar in the U.S., but it is something that we will seriously consider when our car-sharing service will have demonstrated the quality and reliability of our cars,” Bollore wrote in an email. “We also need to build the required organization to offer a perfect service to our clients.”
The Bluecar has met U.S. vehicle safety and EPA emissions standards.
It is somewhat smaller and more upright than the Nissan Leaf EV, and is assembled in Pininfarina S.p.A.’s factory in Italy by a joint venture between Bollore’s Blue Solutions division and Pininfarina. To meet increased demand, Bollore plans to launch production at a second factory, operated by Renault, in Dieppe, France.
The company has no plans to manufacture vehicles in North America, Bollore wrote. “It is too early to take such a decision.”
Still, he added, “If the success is what we hope, it would be no reason why we wouldn’t produce the car in North America.”
The U.S. version of the car is slightly longer and heavier than the version used in France. It has air conditioning, which the French cars don’t, and has six airbags, which is more than French versions, according to Bollore.
Bollore Group’s Blue Solutions division makes the lithium-metal polymer batteries at two sites: Ergue-Gaberic in western France and Boucherville, Quebec, near Montreal.
The batteries have such long lives, they are often used in more than one car, Bollore says: “First you put it in a car. Then you will put it in another car, if the [original] car [is] not any more usable. After that, you will still use it for stationary applications. It will still be usable to store energy.”