An all-electric car-sharing scheme in London is being scrapped next month in a setback to the capital’s ambitions to get more polluting vehicles off the road.
French-owned Bluecity, which ran a fleet of distinctive red battery-powered cars, said its £5-per-half hour service was no longer financially viable after it secured deals with only three London councils. It will officially shut down on February 10.
A second car-sharing club, German-owned DriveNow, is pulling out of London at the end of next month. It operated 130 electric BMW i3 cars out of a total fleet of more than 700 vehicles.
Both services were “point to point”, allowing drivers to pick cars up, drive to anywhere in London and leave them there, in theory making it more flexible.
However, they were plagued by disappointing take-up and the bureaucratic obstacle course of dealing with 33 local authorities.
Bluecity, owned by the Parisian conglomerate Bolloré, was launched in Hammersmith & Fulham in April 2017. At the time the company, which operated the similar but now defunct Autolib scheme in Paris, said it planned to make 3,000 cars available in London.
In a statement today a Bolloré spokesman said: “Our mission has always been to deliver a smart and sustainable EV [electric vehicle] infrastructure whilst encouraging EV uptake across London.
Due to the limited size of the network and the competitive environment, we have taken the difficult decision to close
Spokesman for Bolloré, owner of Bluecity
“Due to the limited size of the network and the competitive environment, we have taken the difficult decision to close the Bluecity car-sharing service.”