Renault to Make 3-Seater 'Autolib' Electric Vehicles

Sep 10, 2014 12:00 PM EDT | Matt Mercuro

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Renault announced on Tuesday a joint venture with conglomerate Bollore, an operator of the existing Paris Autolib fleet, to make three-seater versions of its  "Autolib" self-service hire cars at its Dieppe factory in northwest France.

Bollore, which operates similar electric car schemes in Lyon and Bordeaux and is introducing projects in Indianapolis and London, currently makes all its four-seaters outside of the Autolib scheme as the Bluecar in Italy under a joint venture with the vehicle's design Pininfarina, according to Reuters.

Production for the new Renault version will start during the second half of 2015 at Renault's Dieppe factory in northwest France, a Renault spokesman said to Reuters.

The venture will be held 70 percent by Bollore and 30 percent by Renault.

Bollore runs around 10,000 recharging points across France and wants to have 4,000 of its Bluecars on French roads by the end of 2015.

France has more EVs on the road than any other European country and is ranked third in the world behind the U.S. and Japan, respectively.

Since London and Indianapolis projects are already underway, the company has its eyes on Singapore next.

"Every week the mayor of one of the world's big cities comes to gather information from us," Bollore Chief Executive Vincent Bollore said during a news conference this week, according to Reuters.

"This alliance with Renault gives us respectability and industrial muscle."

Renault Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said there are "no taboos for the future," but for the time being, the partnership with Bollore excludes battery technology.

Bollore will continue to use lithium-metal-polymer batteries as Renault has decided to make lithium-ion batteries through partnerships with Nissan, NEC and LG. 

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