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France

Renault to lead European electric car expansion

© Patrick Kovarik/AFP - Paris's Autolib has been a roaring success

Text by Tony TODD

Latest update : 2014-09-09

The company behind Paris’s electric car scheme has signed a deal with Renault to move manufacturing to France and create a long-term partnership based on the concept of car sharing.

The small electric cars, called “Bluecars” in the Parisian “Autolib” scheme, are the brainchild of French industrial giant Boloré, which created their unique lithium metal polymer battery technology.

They are currently manufactured in Italy by the Bluecar’s designer Pininfarina, under contract to make the cars until the end of 2016

Under a deal announced on Tuesday with French carmaker Renault, the transition period will see the cars also being produced at the company’s Dieppe factory in the north of France starting in the second quarter of 2015.

Beyond a simple manufacturing deal, Boloré’s partnership with Renault envisions the creation of a shared business – 70 percent Bolloré and 30 percent Renault – to develop infrastructure in France and Europe for car-share schemes.

These would build on the runaway success of the Paris’s “Autolib”, which has 2,500 vehicles in the capital served by 4,000 charging stations. The scheme, in place since late 2012, has more than 100,000 registered users.

Similar schemes also exist in Lyon (Bluely) and Bordeaux (Bluecab), where under the deal with Renault, the French car-maker’s electric Twizy two-seater will start to be used alongside the Boloré Bluecar.

In March 2014, Boloré announced plans to invest in a 3,000-vehicle car-sharing scheme in London, starting in 2015.

Date created : 2014-09-09

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