French Autolib' scheme will be rolled out from next September under latest plans
12 December 2014

The French electric car rental scheme Autolib’ is heading for the UK. The company says it hopes to open its second overseas franchise in London in autumn 2015. 

Nearly 3000 of the Pininfarina-designed electric cars are currently based in central Paris. The scheme has recently been expanded to Lyon and Bordeaux and is about to open in Indianapolis in the US.

Autocar can also reveal that the scheme's car supplier Bolloré has signed a deal to have its battery-powered Bluecars built by Renault at its Alpine plant in Dieppe. 

Cédric Bolloré, the development director for Autolib’s parent company, said the company is also working on a three-seat electric rental car with Renault. The new model will be "lighter [than the current car] and fits the needs of typical Autolib’ trips, which average 2.2 passengers per journey".

The march towards the London EV rental car scheme began with Bolloré's Bluepointlondon arm taking over the existing Source London roadside charging points. 

Once the maintenance agreements are secured, Bluepointlondon will standardise the charging systems across the city, ensure that they are fully functional and connected to the same IT network. The company is also working to add more existing charging points to the revamped network.

Owners of private electric plug-in vehicles are expected be allowed to use the Souce London/Bluepointlondon charging points for a £5 fee until 30 September and existing members of the Source London scheme will have their free access extended to the same date.

If negotiations are completed in the time frame expected, the first EV rent cars could be on the capital's streets by next autumn with between 200 and 250 of electric cars available for hire.

The cars will be right-hand drive and are likely to be painted bright red (probably with the same Pantone 485 ‘Safety Red’ used by London buses), but there's no name for the scheme as yet.

The pricing of the scheme is expected to be similar to that in Paris, with a £100 annual fee to join and a charge of around £5 for 30 minutes’ use.

Cédric Bolloré says he hopes the London EV scheme will expand as it has in Paris, which currently has nearly 3000 rental cars on its streets. If the London scheme does expand at the same rate as the original scheme, there could be as many as 3000 hire cars across the capital by 2019 or so.

However, unlike Paris, which is noted for its wide boulevard streets, finding sufficient permanent parking spaces for the London scheme could be difficult. The ‘Boris bikes’ rbicycle ental scheme and various car-sharing schemes already have parking spaces on permanent allocation.

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Our Verdict

Renault Zoe

Bespoke battery-powered supermini aims to advance the EV’s case

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK
  • Volvo V90
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The Volvo V90 is a big estate ploughing its own furrow. We’re about to see if it is refreshing or misguided
  • Kia Stonic
    First Drive
    18 October 2017
    Handsome entrant into the bulging small crossover market has a strong engine and agile handling, but isn’t as comfortable or complete as rivals