Paris ends Autolib electric car sharing contract with Bollore

FILE PHOTO - The logo of the Paris Autolib' electric car is seen in Vaucresson, west of Paris September 30, 2011. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

PARIS (Reuters) - Paris local authorities have ended the Bollore group’s contract to operate the Autolib electric vehicles fleet due to financial difficulties at the pioneering car-sharing scheme.

Local councillors for the Syndicat Autolib’ Vélib’ Métropole (SAVM), which manages the scheme for about 100 municipalities in the Paris region, on Thursday refused a request by Bollore to contribute 233 million euros toward its budget shortfall.

Launched in 2011, Autolib has 150,000 active users and its silver-coloured small cars have become a familiar sight on Paris streets.

But persistent issues with cleanliness, problems with parking and booking as well as competition from other modes of transport such as Uber have pushed the service into the red, with cumulated losses of 293 million euros expected by 2023.

Bollore said in a statement it would dispute the contract termination in court.

“Don’t believe the syndicat’s poppycock, we will go to the administrative tribunal and we will obtain a lot of money, that is how this will end,” Gilles Alix, head of Autolib’ SAS, told reporters.

Reporting by Julie Carriat; Writing by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Alexandra Hudson