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Indianapolis to get 500-vehicle electric car-sharing system

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City officials said Monday that a French company plans to expand its car-sharing business into Indianapolis by establishing a fleet of 500 electric cars.

Mayor Greg Ballard said the addition of Bolloré Group's $35 million system to a plan to convert the city's 3,100-vehicle fleet to alternative energy sources by 2025 would give Indianapolis more charging stations than any other city in the nation.

The proposed Indianapolis system would have up to 1,200 charging stations at up to 200 locations. The program will be open to private, government and corporate users.

The company's Paris service, called Autolib, opened in late 2011. Bolloré said 37,000 customers in France have used its fleet of 1,700 cars to take 2 million trips between 823 rental locations. The system has 4,200 charging stations.

More than 75 percent of the electricity generated in France comes from the country's 59 nuclear plants, while more than 80 percent of Indiana's electricy is generated by coal-fired plants.

“This program provides a great opportunity for downtown workers, residents and visitors to get around town in a car without owning one,” Ballard said in a prepared statement.  “This service allows a person, government or company to only pay for a car when they need and want it.  They aren’t paying for fuel, insurance, maintenance and parking costs when the vehicle is not in use.”

Officials said the program will be based around short one-way rentals with users paying a daily, monthly or annual membership fee. Members will receive swipe cards that will allow them access to the cars and the chargers. Rates for Indianapolis haven't been determined, but membership in Paris costs $16 per month and a 20-minute trip costs about $4.50, officials said.

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  • Urban Areas
    Markus: Not too likely these will be going out into rural areas. Car share services work best where there are lots of people living more closely together who can do most of their daily trips by walking or using transit - and then they use the car share for the occasions when they need to go a little further. Rural areas are not likely to see a lot of charging stations -- at least not through this Bollore' Group's program. Car sharing helps densify urban areas and does not work too well in rural areas.
  • Great!
    This is a very positive step. Congrats to Mayor Ballard and to Energy Systems Network for helping to facilitate this through their Project Plug-In.
  • Can't wait
    I cannot wait to hear more after the formal announcement. Having more transit options is important to me. I love Indy, but hate the cost of owning a car.
  • Expanded use
    These would be ideal for developers when they design new large apartment towers in rural areas. Place a station with cars on the street level or basement. Many more residents could then avoid having to purchase a car, and a personal parking spot.

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  1. I never thought I'd see the day when a Republican Mayor would lead the charge in attempting to raise every tax we have to pay. Now it's income taxes and property taxes that Ballard wants to increase. And to pay for a pre-K program? Many studies have shown that pre-K offer no long-term educational benefits whatsoever. And Ballard is pitching it as a way of fighting crime? Who is he kidding? It's about government provided day care. It's a shame that we elected a Republican who has turned out to be a huge big spending, big taxing, big borrowing liberal Democrat.

  2. Why do we blame the unions? They did not create the 11 different school districts that are the root of the problem.

  3. I was just watching an AOW race from cleveland in 1997...in addition to the 65K for the race, there were more people in boats watching that race from the lake than were IndyCar fans watching the 2014 IndyCar season finale in the Fontana grandstands. Just sayin...That's some resurgence modern IndyCar has going. Almost profitable, nobody in the grandstands and TV ratings dropping 61% at some tracks in the series. Business model..."CRAZY" as said by a NASCAR track general manager. Yup, this thing is purring like a cat! Sponsors...send them your cash, pronto!!! LOL, not a chance.

  4. I'm sure Indiana is paradise for the wealthy and affluent, but what about the rest of us? Over the last 40 years, conservatives and the business elite have run this country (and state)into the ground. The pendulum will swing back as more moderate voters get tired of Reaganomics and regressive social policies. Add to that the wave of minority voters coming up in the next 10 to 15 years and things will get better. unfortunately we have to suffer through 10 more years of gerrymandered districts and dispropionate representation.

  5. Funny thing....rich people telling poor people how bad the other rich people are wanting to cut benefits/school etc and that they should vote for those rich people that just did it. Just saying..............

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