Following a partnership agreement established last September, this month Renault Group in Europe will begin assembly of Bolloré’s Bluecar.
Known in the U.S. as the carsharing vehicles of choice by Indianapolis’ “Blue Indy” program, the Bluecars are the brainchild of bllionaire Vincent Bolloré to create affordable, sustainable electric cars for the masses.
Cars spec’d for use in Indianapolis employ proprietary solid-state 30-kilowatt-hour lithium-metal polymer (LMP) batteries. Nissan’s Leaf has a 24-kwh battery, and only rumors now have it that the 2016 Leaf may be getting a 30-kwh pack.
There’s no word that these cars will be sold to retail consumers in the U.S. though they otherwise do operate here. Priced as a limited-availability car to consumers in Europe – sans leased battery – for around $16,000, as peppy rental cars, they are “sturdy” and elemental transportation with 120-150-mile urban range, and estimated 93 miles highway range.
At this juncture, plans are for Groupe Renault’s Dieppe plant in northern France to assemble the all-electric city cars from bodies and parts brought in by Bolloré.
At the same time, Groupe Bolloré is phasing in assembly by Groupe Renault of its Bluecar model. The Pininfarina designed car was previously made only in Italy.
Renault touts the agreement at Dieppe as “warmly welcomed for its positive impact on employment and as a sign of recognition of the plant’s capabilities and know-how.”
The Dieppe plant is an appropriate place to do the job, as it specializes in small production runs.
Currently it makes Clio RS 200 EDC and competition vehicles.
To handle the Bluecar, a dedicated assembly shop has been set up within the plant and 30 people are expected in time to be employed on the project.
The modern production system is in turn a plus for Bollare to further its goals.