The BlueIndy electric car sharing service in Indianapolis reports that it has signed up 500 subscribers during its first two months of operation. According to Autoblog, those subscribers have used the service more than 3,000 times. The program has the enthusiastic support of Indianapolis mayor Greg Ballard, but has run into significant political headwinds from the city council. It has also been opposed by the local electric utility company.
BlueIndy is a subsidiary of the Bolloré Group, a French corporation that operates a similar service in Paris. That program services more than 80,000 subscribers using a fleet of 3,000 cars. BlueIndy expects to have 500 cars and a network of 200 charging stations located across the city by next year. The company has representatives located at the existing charging stations to talk to people and explain how the service works. People are always nervous about trying something new. That’s really the point of Mary Shelley’s famous book, Frankenstein.
Information is the only effective cure for ignorance. More electric car manufacturers should try a similar approach when marketing electric and plug-in hybrid cars. Yes, a lack of charging infrastructure and high prices are keeping lots of people from buying electric cars, but so is a general lack of information about what they are and how they work.
The political opposition to BlueIndy makes little sense when you consider that it will save the city millions of dollars in money it won’t have to spend to expand its public transportation system. No roads need to be built; no buses need to be purchased; and no city employees need to be hired to provide better mobility for city residents.
In a press release, BlueIndy General Manager Scott Prince said, “Reaching the 500-member mark has special significance in the land of the Indianapolis 500. Our goal is to deliver a convenient, affordable and reliable transit option. The enthusiasm for our new service has been fantastic and many people have already commented on how BlueIndy helps them save money and time and enhances their mobility in the city.” He reports that the average BlueIndy journey lasts about 20 minutes and costs subscribers about $4.00.