Electric Car Usage Then & Now

Carl G. Fisher had an idea over a hundred years ago that’s relevant today. A letter dated June 18, 1909 describes that Fisher Automobile Co. had a similar program to Indianapolis’ plan for the nation’s largest all-electric car sharing program slated for operation later this spring.

Fisher’s service proposed providing garaging and servicing Baker Electrics for Indy’s downtown residents. They could pick-up their fully charged auto and use it for the day and then return it to the garage knowing their vehicle was always ready. This was an innovative service for electric motorists almost 105 years ago. The only thing missing compared with Indianapolis’ idea was the car sharing element.

Fisher Automobile Company Letterhead
Fisher Automobile Company Letterhead
Copyright ©1909 Carl G. Fisher

The Blue Indy car sharing element was formulated by the City of Indianapolis in June 2014. Mayor Greg Ballard, Bolloré Group, and leaders from Indianapolis’ largest employers, universities, hospitality destinations, and civic organizations announced that Indianapolis has been selected as the site of the largest electric car share program in the United States. Bolloré Group planned to invest approximately $35 million to launch an all-electric car share program. The system will feature 500 electric vehicles and 1,200 charging stations at 200 car-share locations. The move marks the first time Bolloré will replicate the success of its Paris car share program outside of France.

“This program provides a great opportunity for downtown workers, residents and visitors to get around town in a car without owning one,” said Mayor Ballard. “This service allows a person, government or company to only pay for a car when they need and want it. They aren’t paying for fuel, insurance, maintenance and parking costs when the vehicle is not in use.”

The Blue Indy car share program is modeled after Bolloré’s popular Autolib service in Paris, which features over 1,700 electric vehicles, 4,200 charging stations, and 37,000 members. As in Paris, the Indianapolis service is aimed at providing new mobility options to the public. It will also allow Indianapolis to become one of the most “electrified” cities in the US with a dense network of charging stations available to private EV owners.

2014 Nissan Leaf
2014 Nissan Leaf
Copyright © 2014 Nissan North America

The car share program will be available to individual members and government/corporate users. The City of Indianapolis and many other governmental and business organizations are looking into corporate memberships in order to reduce the size of their vehicle fleet.

Indiana’s history of automotive innovation will continue with the implementation of the nation’s largest all-electric car sharing program later this spring. Way to go Indy!

For more information on our automotive heritage follow this link.

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