Friday, September 18, 2015

Blue Indy Claims Electric Car Sharing Service Has Exceeded Expectations To Date

You have to go searching to find one of those Blue Indy cars being driven around town by anyone other than an employee ambassador of the electric car sharing service, but the company says the mostly-idle cars parked around downtown and elsewhere consuming the most valuable public parking spaces stolen from Indianapolis taxpayers has so far "exceeded expectations." At least that's what the folks at the French-based Bollore are telling Bloomberg.
. . . Its BlueIndy car share, backed by the same French company that runs Autolib', was launched on Sept. 2 with an initial fleet of 52 cars, which will expand to 500, with 200 recharging stations planned. BlueIndy's general manager, Scott Prince, says demand has "exceeded our expectations," with more than 500 people signing up in the first two weeks. BlueIndy users register on its website, then can opt for a one-time rental costing $8 for the first 8 minutes and 40¢ a minute after that, or a weekly, monthly, or annual membership offering per-minute costs as low as 20¢. 
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard has said he's "delighted to welcome BlueIndy as a clean, affordable transit option" for residents and visitors to Indiana's capital, which like many midsize U.S. cities doesn't have much mass transit. Ballard ponied up $6 million in city funds to top off the $41 million being spent on the program by Groupe Bolloré, the French manufacturer of the four-seat, battery-powered cars, which have a range of 150 miles between recharges.
BlueIndy will be an important test for Groupe Bolloré, which hopes to create a worldwide market for the lithium metal polymer batteries that power the cars. Bolloré spent more than €3 billion ($3.4 billion) to develop the technology, and Vincent Bolloré, the chairman and chief executive, has said he is keen to test its performance in Indiana's cold winters and hot summers. "Indiana shouldn't be more complicated than Paris," he told Bloomberg News this year . . . 
The story goes on to concede there has been local opposition to Mayor Ballard breaking numerous state and local laws before trying to illegally wire $6 million in city funds to the company as additional start-up capital, although the Bloomberg story doesn't describe it in those terms.
BlueIndy has gotten off to a bumpy start in this city of 850,000, host to America's most famous auto race. Local business owners have groused about recharging stands taking up parking space outside their establishments, while disgruntled taxpayers complain about the expenditure of public funds on a project run by a French company. Some city council members, angry that the mayor didn't seek their approval for the outlay, have even threatened to have BlueIndy cars towed off the streets. Autolib' has drawn little criticism in France.
Bollore tells Bloomberg the local opposition will "die down" once people see the benefits of the "silent, zero exhaust" cars on the streets. There's no mention of the problems people are having in communicating via satellite hook-up to the support staff in Paris since the company won't spend any money hiring local employees to provide support services. When does the Indianapolis media plan to investigate the use of a nonprofit's employees to serve as ambassadors for the electric car sharing service? I'm pretty sure that's not kosher. But then again our local media has shown little interest in investigating the fact that officials would have been indicted in almost any other city in America for doing what Mayor Ballard and members of his administration did to foist this electric car sharing service on Indianapolis residents. Politicians don't break a bunch of laws just for the hell of it unless there's something in it for them.

Check out the Lindedin profile of Blue Indy's GM Scott Prince:

Vice President and General Manager

BlueIndy
 – Present (less than a year)Indianapolis, Indiana Area

Owner/CEO

Expansion Resources LLC
 – Present (17 years)Carmel, IN
Single member LLC to manage secondary affiliations below

General Manager / AVP Sales / VP Strategic Sales

Shoutlet
 –  (2 years)
Shoutlet enables clients to manage and measure their social marketing efforts to enhance their brand, provide a personal level of customer care, gain market insights to ultimately drive increased revenue and customer conversions.

EVP, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer

Blue Pillar, Inc.
 –  (2 years)Indianapolis, Indiana Area

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

If these non-profit employees were doing work on behalf of a church...

Chas. M. Navarra said...

!!! --> "Politicians don't break a bunch of laws just for the hell of it unless there's something in it for them."

Marion County voter disgust and anger is increasing regarding Mr. Ballard's unilaterally awarded monopoly for his expensive, high net carbon battery powered rental car business.

Most everything we've been told and sold about Blue Indy is, from my research and IMHO, a huge lie. It's just that simple.

Eric Morris said...

I'm going to teach my children to be full-on cronies--no more of this quaint notion of doing the right thing.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Why not? Only people who lie, cheat and steal get ahead in this country.

Chas. M. Navarra said...

Eric Morris (12:42) reminds me of the crucial viewpoint I was trying to convey when I was interviewed a couple of weeks ago by Mr. Brad Wernle of Automotive News (Detroit). Mr. Wernle's piece should be published on or about September 28, 2015.

The point I attempted to make to Reporter Wernle several times throughout our discussion about Blue Indy rental cars is that corporatists like French Billionaire Bollore with their dreams of creating worldwide battery powered car rental business monopolies and establishing their necessary ubiquitous unproved electrical charging stations in the urban areas could never realize those dreams come true without the corporatists first buying corrupt politicians willing to break any law, override any governing body, dismiss constituency concerns about safety and neighborhood control, issue no or misleading economic impact reports (e.g.: IndyGO loosing customers and income), and willing to single-handedly take from the public domain territory and property and tax dollars and tax credits from "the people" and transfer all of that to the special interests.

This is exactly what Republican Mayor Greg Ballard did with Blue Indy, Vision Fleet, and his many other well-known but little done about pay-to-play schemes. And it is wrong. And the Republican majority Indiana Legislature was wrong in abetting him do it, in effect, by acquiescing to Mr. Ballard's pleas to change long-standing, proved Indianapolis municipal rules, regulations, and procedures, and even political offices (as in the City County Council).

Above all, the Marion County people know it is wrong. And they are angry and no amount of phony public relations lies about Blue Indy "success" and eventual "acceptance by the people" will ever make it so.

Chas. M. Navarra said...

It is more accurate that I identify Brad Wernle as a Senior Writer for Automotive News.

Anonymous said...

Here's a VIN for a Blue Indy car.

It has a French manufacturer code. I can't get a CARFAX for it. The NHTSA website doesn't recognize it.

VL4BCUEA5GT000022

This is likely an illegal car, not approved for U.S. roadway use. How did it get into the country, and how did Pence allow it to be licensed?

Anonymous said...

I have an idea. Perhaps one of Ballard's cronies could set up a 501c3 to help disadvantaged northside and eastside youth. They could steal the batteries out of these illegally parked and never used Blue Indy cars, uhhh, recondition them (yeah, that's the ticket) and then sell them back to Ballard at 500% of original cost. This would be an economic boon to Indy, kind of like the Super Bowl. I'm sure Ballard would be on board because it would give him the opportunity to have his picture taken with some disadvantaged children of color. That might come in handy if he ever decides to run for national office. It's a win for the Chubby Marine. It's a win for the Cronies. Heck, it's even a win for Bollare. I'm not sure how but they're creative. They'll think of something. Get on it boys. Indy needs this.

Brian Wells said...

Fed up with BlueIndy. Three bills from them. All the amounts are wrong. No one responds to my web messages. Phone support is useless. Gave up. Filed chargebacks with my credit card company (who normally does this over $2 here and $3 there???). I'd usually let this sort of thing slide, but they've royally pissed me off). I've never been so disappointed with a company ever. I'm an EV fanatic. I wanted to see them succeed. Right now I'd rate them a notch below Comcast in customer support. In other words: worse than terrible. Can't think of better words.

Brian Wells said...

Easiest way to eliminate this company from the landscape of Indianapolis: Simply use the service. Let me explain. BlueIndy Private EV Charging Memberships are currently being billed incorrectly. According the Page 33 of the Terms & Conditions, the price should be $21.40 per year. Instead, they are billing $23.40 per year. Additionally, the price per hour is clearly displayed in the Terms & Conditions as $2.14 per hour. In the "History" portion of the site, my most recent charge was 1 hour and 54 minutes. But, instead of billing me $4.28 according to their published Terms & Conditions, they've billed me $2.14 for the first hour. And, $3.78 for the remaining 54 minutes as part of a "4 hour nighttime block charging rate." None of this is listed in the Terms & Conditions. They basically just made it up without updating their price list. Which means it's fraud! After 5 days, no one from BlueIndy has responded to my web messages. The French based phone support line is useless. They tell you to use the website for billing questions. So the last report is filing a chargeback with my credit card company. Which I have done. It occurred to me that since BlueIndy is currently running about 300 transactions per week, and payment processors typically RED FLAG merchants with chargeback rates in excess of 1% per month, it would merely take, on average, 12 incorrectly billed transactions per month, either in the form of incorrectly billed Membership Fees or incorrectly billed hourly charging fees, for BlueIndy to lose their ability to accept credit cards. That's a death knell for any company. Now, I'll be the first to tell you I WANT this company to succeed. I WANT the ability to park and charge my private electric vehicle at these stations. But, their current course of action is reckless and leads to oblivion. Success in America is all about high levels customer service and consumer protections when you're defrauded. Get with the program, BlueIndy! Endless press releases are useless in the world of social media and personal recommendations where people learn some facts about your organization.