Autolib'

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Autolib'
Type Public
Industry Car rental
Founded December 2011 (2011-12)
Headquarters Paris, France
Area served Paris and 45 surrounding communities
Services Carsharing
Parent Bolloré
Website autolib.eu

Autolib' is an electric car sharing service which was inaugurated in Paris, France, in December 2011. It complements the city's bike sharing scheme, Velib', which was set up in 2007. The Autolib' scheme intends to deploy 3,000 all-electric Bolloré Bluecars for public use on a paid subscription basis, based around a citywide network of parking and charging stations.[1][2] As of 30 September 2013, over 2,000 Bluecars had been registered for the service, and the scheme had 105,000 registered subscribers by mid-October 2013;[3] Autolib' currently offers over 4,000 charging points.[4] Autolib' has begun efforts to expand its business to other French cities,[5] and has also signed a deal to begin operating in the American city of Indianapolis in 2014.[6]

History[edit]

The Autolib' system is a follow-up to Paris' successful Velib' bike sharing scheme, which began operations in 2007. The system's electric cars are supplied by the Bolloré industrial group, as the result of a collaboration with the Italian automotive firm Pininfarina.[7] There are also plans to integrate payment for the bicycle and car hire schemes with the ticketing systems for traditional modes of public transport.[8] In May 2012, Vincent Bolloré, the head of the Bolloré group, stated that he expected Autolib' to become profitable by 2018.[9]

Bolloré Bluecars recharging at an Autolib' service kiosk on Rue du Quatre Septembre, Paris, in June 2012.

Construction of the Autolib' stations began in mid-2011, and 66 of the scheme's Bolloré Bluecars were deployed for a two-month preliminary trial period between October and December 2011.[1][10] The system entered service on 5 December 2011, with an initial fleet of 250 Bluecars and 250 Autolib’ rental stations serving the city of Paris and its 45 surrounding communities.

At the scheme's inception, car availability was a problematic issue, as more Parisians than expected subscribed to the service. Moreover, by early January 2012, up to 40 of the 250 cars in the initial fleet had been temporarily withdrawn from service to repair vandalism or malfunctions.[11][12]

By July 2012, 650 parking and charging stations had been deployed around Paris and the 46 communes participating in the scheme,[13] and by February 2013 there were 4,000 charging points.[4] The program's user base grew from 6,000 subscribers at the end of December 2011 to 27,000 in July 2012, and reached 37,000 by early October 2012, of which 13,000 had an annual subscription.[13][14][15] By mid-October 2013, the scheme had 105,000 subscribers.[3]

Autolib' rental station

During 2012, sales of electric cars in France were led by the Bolloré Bluecar deployed for Autolib', with 1,543 units registered, representing 28% of total all-electric cars registered in the country that year.[16] Over 2,000 Bolloré Bluecars had been registered for Autolib' by September 2013.[3] The company's goal is to deploy 3,000 electric cars by 2013.[17] By late September 2012, Autolib's fleet reached the milestone of 500,000 rentals since its launch,[13][18] and the scheme's vehicles had been driven a cumulative total of 15,000,000 km (9,300,000 mi) by February 2013.[4] By mid-October 2013, the service had provided over 3 million rentals, with an average of 10,000 rentals per day, and with a cumulative mileage of 27,300,000 km (17,000,000 mi) since the program's introduction two years before.[3]

Name lawsuit[edit]

In December 2009, the car-rental company Europcar brought the City of Paris to court, arguing that the Autolib' name was a plagiarism and unfair competition by the city. Europcar is the trademark owner of the rental car subscription service "Autoliberté", which has been in operation since 2001.[19] The case was dismissed in March 2011 by the High Court of Paris, and Europcar decided to appeal.[20] On 30 June 2012, the Paris Court of Appeal set aside the judgment of the High Court, and ruled that within a month Autolib' had to change its name because it breaches trademark laws. The ruling implies that the name must be changed on all 1,800 Autolib' cars, docking stations and subscriber cards, and also all of the scheme's advertising will have to be rewritten.[21]

After the ruling, the City of Paris and Europcar began negotiating an agreement to solve the brand name conflict.[22] In November 2012, an agreement was reached to keep the Autolib' brand name. Europcar agreed to waive the enforcement of the court decision on the condition that the City of Paris would be the owner of the Autolib brand, and in exchange for free advertising for Europcar's Autoliberté service. The agreement was signed for three years.[23][24]

Autolib' beyond Paris[edit]

In early 2013, the Bolloré Group announced plans to launch a similar car sharing service in Lyon and Bordeaux, but under a different brand name and with no cost to the cities. Bolloré's proposal is to fund the entire infrastructure, install and provide the vehicles, and cover the costs of maintenance and repairs. A formal agreement has not been signed as of March 2013. Bolloré's goal is to start service in Bordeaux by September 2013 with 90 vehicles, 40 parking stations and 180 charging stations. After these two schemes are implemented, the company plans to launch similar systems abroad, beginning with a city in Asia.[5] In June 2013, Autolib' formed an agreement with the American city of Indianapolis, Indiana, to develop an electric car sharing service there.[6] In October 2013, proposals were advanced for Scootlib', an electric scooter sharing scheme intended to complement Velib' and Autolib'.[25]

Fire incidents[edit]

On 14 October 2013, a Bluecar was destroyed by fire while charging at an Autolib' kiosk in Paris; the fire then spread to a second Bluecar.[26] A police investigation was subsequently conducted to ascertain the cause of the fire. According to Bolloré, the real-time telemetric monitoring system did not register a thermal runaway problem with the car's battery when the fire started. The company is attributing the origin of the fire to an external cause, probably vandalism. Bolloré reported that a total of 25 Autolib' Bluecars have burnt out since the scheme's inception, with most of the incidents certified as attributed to vandals.[27][28]

Operation[edit]

An Autolib' kiosk on Boulevard Diderot.

The Autolib’ Bluecar is available to anyone aged 18 or older with a valid French driving license, or a valid foreign license plus the international driving license, who takes out a paid subscription. Users can choose from a number of rental packages, with 30-minute fees varying from €4 to €8 depending on the rental plan. An available car can be collected for use from any rental station and returned to any other rental station. Each car has on-board GPS capabilities and can be tracked by the system's operations center.[17]

In addition to the subscription fees, Autolib' charges a variable rate for each half an hour of use, but billing for each rental is calculated on a pro rata basis, which takes into account the actual duration of use rounded up to the nearest minute (except for the first 20 minutes, for which there is a minimum charge).[29] The table below summarizes the subscription types available, the subscription fees and the corresponding 30-minute rates:

Autolib' service fees and use rates[29]
Plan Membership Subscription
fees
Rates per each 30 min interval Maximum rates in case of accident
First
30 min
Second
30 min
Additional
30 min
First
accident
Second
accident
Third
accident
(max)
Premium solo 1 year €144 per year
(€12 per month)
€5 €5 €5 €200 €475 €750
Premium family 1 year €132 per year
(€11 per month)
€5 €4 €6 €200 €475 €750
Weekly 1 week €15 per week €7 €6 €8 €150 €450 €750
Discovery 1 day €10 per 24 h €7 €6 €8 €150 €450 €750

Other services[edit]

A privately owned BMW i3 charging at an Autolib' station in Paris.
A Bluecar used by the Atos MyCar corporate carsharing service in Bezons, France, in 2012.

Private EV charging service[edit]

In addition to charging its own vehicles, the Autolib' scheme offers charging services for private owners of electric cars and motorcycles.[30] Customers have to sign up for the "recharge" fee option. The subscription cost for cars is €180 per year, or €15 per month. The subscription fee for electric motorcycles is €15 per year. Recharge customers have designated parking spaces at Autolib’ stations, marked with a blue square. Subscribers' charging time is limited to 2 hours and 15 minutes; each additional half-hour costs €6 for cars and €3 for motorcycles. Use of the charging infrastructure for private cars is limited to two times per day per subscriber.[31]

In early 2014, Renault offered free Autolib' charging subscriptions to owners of Renault EVs.[32] Autolib' charging stations are compatible with the following plug-in electric vehicles: BMW i3, Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Opel Ampera, Renault Fluence Z.E., Renault Kangoo Z.E., Renault Twizy, Renault Zoe, Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid and all Smart ED, Peugeot iOn and Citroen C-Zero manufactured before May 2013.[33]

Bluecar leasing and sales program[edit]

Bolloré began leasing the Bluecar to individual and corporate customers in October 2012 at a price of €500 (US$648) per month. The pricing includes insurance, parking and charging at Autolib' stations. According to Bolloré, each existing station already provides one recharging space for private electric cars outside the Autolib' system. The Bluecar retail version has a blue exterior color, unlike the Autolib' version's silver unpainted aluminum exterior.[13][34] In February 2013 Bolleré announced the start of retail sales of the Bluecar, and for an optional monthly fee of €15, owners can have access to the Autolib' network of charging stations around Paris.[35]

Corporate carsharing[edit]

Atos and the Bolloré Group launched the MyCar corporate car sharing pilot program in December 2012. The service is dedicated to Atos employees for their business travel needs at the company's headquarters in the French town of Bezons. A fleet of ten Atos-branded Bolloré Bluecars were initially deployed. In addition to charging vehicles at the solar-powered Bezons site, MyCar users can also access the Autolib' network of charging stations in Paris and its surrounding area.[36][37]

In January 2013, a similar leasing deal was reached with Crédit Agricole, the largest retail banking group in France. Five Bluecars were leased for 20 months for business travel use by the bank's employees.[38]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "All charged up for sharing". The Economist. 10 September 2011. Retrieved 11 September 2011. 
  2. ^ "Autolib' in the Paris region: dissenting voices before the official launch". AFP via Google. 20 November 2011. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d Michaël Torregrossa (19 October 2013). "Paris – Autolib’ passe le seuil des 3 millions de locations" [Paris – Autolib' passes the threshold of 3 million rentals] (in French). Association pour l'Avenir du Véhicule Electrique Méditerranéen (AVEM). Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c AFP/AP/Reuters (21 February 2013). "La Bluecar sera vendue 12.000 euros" [The Bluecar will be sold for €12,000]. Le Figaro (in French). Retrieved 16 March 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Relax News (26 February 2013). "Après Paris et Lyon, Bolloré veut lancer Autolib' à Bordeaux" [After Paris and Lyon, Bolloré wants to launch Autolib' in Bordeaux] (in French). Droid Finances. Retrieved 16 March 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "French car-sharing service Autolib will make US debut in Indianapolis". AOL AutoBlog Green. 13 June 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2013. 
  7. ^ Mark Appleton (30 June 2008). "Move over Velib, Autolib is on its way". Bike Radar. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  8. ^ McCarthy, Michael (2 March 2009). "Boris jumps on board France's 'hire an electric car' scheme". The Independent (London). Retrieved 27 May 2010. 
  9. ^ "Bolloré’s BlueCar could break even by 2018". Challenge Bibendum. 31 May 2012. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  10. ^ David Jolly (3 October 2011). "Paris Tests Short-Term Rentals of Electric Cars". New York Times. Retrieved 5 October 2011. 
  11. ^ "Autolib' déjà victime de pannes et de vandalisme" [Autolib' already suffering breakdowns and vandalism]. Le Figaro (in French). 2 January 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  12. ^ Domenick Yoney (13 January 2012). "Parisian Autolib car sharing service suffers setbacks, sells 6,000 subscriptions". Autoblog Green. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  13. ^ a b c d AFC and Le Parisien (5 October 2012). "Bolloré lance la "BlueCar" en région parisienne" [Bolloré launches "BlueCar" in the Paris region]. Le Parisien (in French). Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  14. ^ "Autolib' : Plus de 6.000 abonnés en deux semaines" [Autolib' : More than 6,000 subscribers in two weeks]. France Soir (in French). 2 January 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  15. ^ Marion Kindermans (23 July 2012). "Paris veut éviter le changement de nom d'Autolib'" [Paris wants to avoid Autolib name change]. Les Échos (France) (in French). Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  16. ^ Michaël Torregrossa (19 January 2013). "Voitures électriques – Le bilan des immatriculations 2012 en France" [Electric Cars – The balance of registrations in France 2012] (in French). Association pour l'Avenir du Véhicule Electrique Méditerranéen (AVEM). Retrieved 16 March 2013. 
  17. ^ a b Fernando Valeika de Barros (10 December 2011). "A revolução do Autolib' em Paris". Veja (in Portuguese). Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  18. ^ John Voelcker (2 October 2012). "Bollore Bluecar: Sharing Paris's Most Popular Electric Car". Green Car Reports. Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  19. ^ "Autolib: Europcar attaque la Ville de Paris" [Autolib: Europcar attack the City of Paris]. Le Figaro (in French). 9 December 2009. Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  20. ^ "Autolib': Europcar fait appel" [Autolib: Europcar files appeal]. Le Figaro (in French). 13 April 2011. Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  21. ^ "Court orders Paris car-share scheme Autolib' to change name". France 24. 3 July 2012. Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  22. ^ AFP (2 August 2012). "La Ville de Paris et Europcar négocient sur le nom de la marque Autolib'" [The City of Paris and Europcar are negotiating the name of the Autolib' brand] (in French). Auto Addict. Retrieved 15 August 2012. 
  23. ^ "Paris : Autolib' pourra conserver son nom" [Paris: Autolib' will retain its name]. Le Parisien (in French). 28 November 2012. Retrieved 20 December 2012. 
  24. ^ "Europcar, Autolib, Paris Reach Agreement on Autolib Brand". Auto Rental News. 6 December 2012. Retrieved 21 December 2012. 
  25. ^ "After Velib' and Autolib' is Paris set for Scootlib'?". TheLocal.fr. 17 October 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2014. 
  26. ^ "Paris Autolib' electric cars go up in smoke". TheLocal.fr. 14 October 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2014. 
  27. ^ Jean-Marc Leclerc (14 October 2013). "Incendies d'Autolib': des actes de malveillance" [Autolib' Fire: Vandalism act]. Le Figaro (in French). Retrieved 17 October 2013. 
  28. ^ Laurent J. Masson (16 October 2013). "Two Autolib Electric Cars Burn Down in Paris". PluginCars.com. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  29. ^ a b "Choose your subscription". Autolib'. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  30. ^ "E-Cycles Allowed Use of Autolib Charge Stations in Paris". EVWorld.com. 24 June 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2013. 
  31. ^ "Autolib', How it works?". Autolib'. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  32. ^ "Free Annual Autolib Charging Subscriptions For All Renault EV Owners Through February 28, 2014". Inside EVs. January 2014. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  33. ^ Autolib'. "Our Rates for Individuals". Autolib'. Retrieved 9 August 2014. 
  34. ^ Laurent Lepsch (8 October 2012). "Louez une Bluecarpour 500 € par mois" [Lease a Bluecar for €500 per month] (in French). Auto News. Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  35. ^ Michaël Torregrossa (21 February 2013). "Voiture électrique – La Bluecar de Bolloré disponible pour 12.000 €" [Electric Cars – Bolloré Bluecar available for €12,000] (in French). Association pour l'Avenir du Véhicule Electrique Méditerranéen (AVEM). Retrieved 16 March 2013. 
  36. ^ Michaël Torregrossa (7 December 2012). "MyCar – L’Autolib’ professionnel de Bolloré déployé chez Atos" [MyCar – The Autolib' cars of Bolloré deployed at Atos] (in French). Association pour l'Avenir du Véhicule Electrique Méditerranéen (AVEM). Retrieved 21 December 2012. 
  37. ^ Atos Press Release (6 December 2012). "Atos and Bolloré Group launch first 100% electric corporate car fleet". Reuters. Retrieved 21 December 2012. 
  38. ^ Laurent Meillaud (18 January 2013). "Quand La Bluecar Séduit Le Crédit Agricole du Finistère" [When the Bluecar Seduced the Crédit Agricole du Finistère] (in French). Automobile Propre. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 

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