PARIS –, whose electric cars are selling slowly, has agreed to work with Bollore, the manufacturer of lithium-polymer batteries and electric vehicles used in car-sharing schemes in France and Indiana.
and Bollore say they have signed a letter of intent to examine joint car-sharing programs and industrial cooperation for EVs.
Bollore is a global leader in EV-sharing schemes. As of last April, it had 4,800 recharging points and 1,800 cars for the Autolib program serving Paris and surrounding communities. It has been adding several hundred cars per month.
In June, Bollore signed a deal with Indianapolis for a car-sharing program that will involve $35 million, 1,200 charging spots and 500 of its electric Bluecars. It also has programs in Lyon and Bordeaux, France, and Renault has been invited to invest in them.
The partners will study the idea of a joint venture to sell the idea to more communities in France and internationally, presumably using some Renault vehicles as well as Bollore Bluecars.
A second part of the potential partnership is for Renault to begin assembly of Bollore vehicles in Dieppe, France. Bollore now makes the batteries in Canada and France, but the cars are built in a Pininfarina prototype factory in Italy, where capacity soon will be reached.
Demand is seen rising for both the 4-seat Bluecar and a convertible version to be launched next June.
“The two groups will study the transfer of some assembly to the Renault factory in Dieppe, as well as the supply by Renault of some parts and components,” the partners say in a joint statement.
Arnaud Montebourg, the French minister for economic recovery, says of such collaboration, “We have a manufacturer of Renault electric vehicles in Flins and Cleon; we have a manufacturer of batteries in Bollore: It is necessary that they unite, that they give each other a hand.”
A third part of the deal calls for Bollore and Renault to work on developing and building a 3-seat vehicle that would use the 20-kWh Bollore battery. The companies say three-fourths of Autolib short trips involve three or fewer occupants, so the idea of a short 122.0-in. (310.0-cm) car might make sense.
With the same battery, such a car would have a range of 124 miles (200 km), requiring fewer stops for recharging.