Short-term rental service BlueIndy will end its Indianapolis electric fleet operations, joining a number of peer-to-peer rental and car-sharing services scaling back due to unprofitability.
BlueIndy, which was introduced in September 2015, was originally slated to have 500 vehicles and 200 stations throughout Indianapolis to accommodate its membership-based "subscribe, rent, and drive and return" short-term rental model. BlueIndy is a subsidiary of French transportation company Bollore Group.
In a letter to customers Friday, the service said, "This difficult decision to end the service has been made because we did not reach the level of activity required to be economically viable," the Indiana Business Journal reported.
The service will end its collaboration with Indianapolis effective May 21, the company said on its website Friday. The company will gradually reduce the number of cars it has operating over that time and will stop charging monthly membership fees on March 21 and terminate memberships, the Indiana Business Journal reported.
The service offers fully electric, four-passenger Bluecar vehicles that can drive up to 150 miles per charge, according to the company's website. Customers can purchase a daily, weekly, monthly or annual membership. A usage fee is charged in addition to the membership.
BlueIndy allows EV owners to charge their vehicles at company charging stations for $20 per year, plus $2 per hour of charging.
Several automakers have struggled to find a sweet spot in peer-to-peer short-term rental, car-sharing and subscription services.
Earlier this week, BMW and Daimler announced they are withdrawing their joint short-term car rental service, Share Now, from North America. The German automakers also said they would be halting Share Now services in three European cities, citing rising costs and low ridership.
In May, General Motors' Maven announced its subscription venture would exit eight U.S. cities.
"There's a lot of operational challenges with running this kind of business. So far, no one has come up with a viable operational model that makes commercial sense," Sam Abuelsamid, principal analyst at Navigant Research, told Automotive News in October.
Still, others are pursuing the services as a potential source of revenue. Penske Corp. launched a short-term rental pilot in Washington, D.C., and Arlington, Va., in October.