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

  • Ford Mustang
    First Drive
    24 March 2018
    Sixth-generation Mustang gets a leaner face, revised suspension, improved safety equipment and a more power V8. We see how it fares on southern French roads
  • First Drive
    23 March 2018
    Fully-loaded, big-hitting diesel CLS shows the potential perils of ticking too many options boxes on your order form. A good car with a bad suspension combination.
  • BMW M5
    First Drive
    22 March 2018
    Super saloon deploys four-wheel drive to improve every facet of its driving experience. Faster and more capable than any, and more exciting than most, of its celebrated predecessors
  • Range Rover Sport SVR
    First Drive
    22 March 2018
    More power and an intoxicating soundtrack have breathed new life into our love affair with the biggest, baddest Range Rover Sport variant
  • First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new Vantage has been developed as a Porsche 911 beater, and our first taste on UK roads suggests it can live up to that bold claim