French Billionaire Vincent Bolloré plans to introduce a car-sharing scheme for electric vehicles. The green campaign, a four-wheel extension of London’s environmentally-friendly “Boris Bikes” program, will let Londoners hire an electric car for 15 minute slots.
Bolloré Group’s IER company will reportedly spend $166 million on the Source London program to quadruple the number of outlets for charging electric vehicles, ultimately equipping the city with 6,000 recharge stations. It plans to launch its automotive-sharing scheme with 100 green vehicles by the end of 2014, scaling up to 3,000 cars by 2018.
Founded in 2011, Source London was launched by the capital’s Mayor Boris Johnson, who introduced nearly 1,400 electric vehicle charge points across 300 sites including grocery stores, car parks and hospitals. Transport for London (TfL) selected IER to take over the management and operation of the initiative from summer 2014.
“It’s now time for a private sector operator to drive the scheme forward, working under normal market conditions and clearly demonstrating electric vehicles are here to stay,” said Nick Fairholme, the TfL Director responsible for Source London.
Bolloré Group already runs similar programs in France and the United States, including Paris’ Autolib auto-sharing service. Launched in 2011, it now registers 315,000 reservations a month. Autolib will be profitable in the third quarter of this year, according to Bolloré, while initial predictions estimate Source London will be profitable in six to seven years, Bloomberg reports.
“TfL and Bolloré Group share a common ambition for creating a better environment for Londoners by facilitating the uptake of EVs,” said Vincent Bolloré, the groups president.
Londoners will have to spend for it: According to City A.M., users will pay a monthly membership fee in addition to $16 an hour to use the cars.
With a net worth of $7.4 billion, Vincent Bolloré is the 14th-richest person in France, and #183 on our list of 1,645 billionaires. This isn’t the first time he’s profited from green technology: The Bolloré Group’s Blue Solutions, a manufacturer of patented lithium-metal-polymer car batteries, went public in 2013. The batteries power the Bolloré Bluecar, used in Paris’ electric car-sharing service.
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