Electric Car Hire Scheme For London Agreed
A French billionaire has announced plans to introduce 3,000 electric hire cars in London, in a scheme similar to the 'Boris bikes' introduced in 2010.
Vincent Bollore confirmed the proposals after a subsidiary of his Bollore Group, IER, was selected by Transport for London to take over the management of the existing Source London scheme from June this year.
Under that agreement, Bollore said he would quadruple the number of electric car charging points in Britain to 6,000 in a £100m investment aimed at cutting pollution and congestion.
The separate electric car hire project would be based on Autolib in Paris, which was launched in 2011 and currently has more than 45,000 active subscribers making between 9,000 and 13,000 car journeys each day.
"We'll have Blue Cars in London within the next 12 months," Bollore said at a news conference.
He aims to have 100 cars available by the year's end, with the total hitting 3,000 by 2016.
Drivers would have to pay £10 per hour via a smartphone app to hire a vehicle.
The Autolib business model has also been rolled out to the French cities of Lyon and Bordeaux and will soon go into operation in the US city of Indianapolis.
London Mayor Boris Johnson said: "We're going to see more charging points popping up across London, which will drive the take-up of these cleaner, greener machines and help to reduce air pollution too."
The earlier bike hire scheme he introduced in London was initially sponsored by Barclays bank but soon acquired the nickname "Boris Bikes" after the mayor.
Mr Bollore argued the cars should prove just as popular.
He pointed to the planned growth in charging points to help counter the arguments of electric car critics on limited battery distances.
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