BLUEINDY Electric Car-Sharing

BlueIndy, an electric car-sharing service modeled after the AutoLib system in Paris that’s now operating in an American heartland city: Indianapolis.

The BlueIndy service is a subsidiary of the Bolloré Group, which owns and operates the AutoLib service in Paris and manufactures the BlueCar electric hatchbacks used there.

Today, it has 74 sites, each with five charging-station cords, and 230 cars in its fleet, with a further 25 stations now under construction. BlueIndy’s ultimate goal is to have 200 charging sites (which it calls “stations”) and 500 cars available throughout the Indianapolis area.

As of last Friday, it had 2,100 registered members who had taken 21,500 separate trips over the past nine months.

Of those, 70 percent have purchased an annual membership and the other 30 percent use the service monthly or less—frequently to get to and from the Indianapolis airport.

They split almost equally by gender (55 percent male, 45 percent female) and their average age is 42.

Boehmer said usage patterns break into roughly three groups.

First are service workers, often being paid minimum wage, for whom the car provides added economic opportunity.

Then come couples who have sold a second vehicle and use BlueIndy cars to fill in for local journeys.

Finally come “mid- to low-level management users” whose use varies depending on need. Expansion plans include the company’s partnership with the local transit system, IndyGo.

Indianapolis is “the showcase city” for the Bolloré Group, and the company doesn’t intend it to reap “significant profits” until the seventh or eighth year of operation.

BlueIndy fees are $9.99 per month for a one-year membership, plus 20 cents per mile. The system is just adding a new Youth and Student membership level, for just $30 a year and 15 cents a mile.

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