The French-made Bollore BlueCar electric two-seaters are now closer to arriving on the US market. Groups of Level 2 charging stations are popping up at curbsides all over the city of Indiana.
Now that the charging stations have been installed along downtown curbs - in groups of five - local businesses fear they will lose customers who can't conveniently park close to their storefronts. It's a similar battle to that waged last year in New York City, when the CitiBike bike-sharing program installed racks for dozens of bicycles along dedicated curbsides, eliminating hundreds of parking spots in the crowded city. In New York, neighbors and residents in adjacent buildings also fought the bike stations for numerous reasons ranging from impeded accessibility for dropoffs and handicapped access. In Indianapollis, the concerns of businesses are more focused: If their customers have to park blocks away, they won't patronize the stores.
When completed, 500 BlueCars -adapted to meet U.S. regulations from the European version now built-will be positioned at 200 locations in the city, each of which will have five curbside charging stations.
All plug-in electric car drivers will be able to recharge at those stations for a fee, according to the BlueIndy promoters.
Indianapolis itself is putting $6 million into the program, while the privately-held French company Bollore (which also makes the cars) will invest $41 million into the BlueIndy project.
Bollore has thus far sunk hundreds of millions of dollars into its BlueCar electric-car program and Autolib sharing services in Paris, Lyons, and other French cities.
The company was recently awarded a contract to establish a similar service in London, including commonizing the sprawling and disparate networks of charging stations in that city, each of which is subject to different regulations imposed by the local borough council.