The 2013/01/15 at 09:26
Asha Meralli et Pélagie Harbour
Morald Chibout, General Manager, and Serge Amabile, Sales and Marketing Manager
When was the Autolib concept launched?
M. C: The commercial launch took place on 5 December 2011. Its innovative nature won fans very quickly, and today we are already well above our objectives in terms of the number of subscribers. We are very committed on a local basis, in Paris but also in the Île-de-France region, in 47 communes to be exact.
What are the reasons behind its success?
M.C: With Autolib, Paris became the first major city to witness the circulation of 100 % electric vehicles, the Bluecars. What’s certain is that we have created a new demand, which has emerged for several reasons. For example, we have a very simple price range offer, with rentals available on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis. The strength of our client service, on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, is another important asset. With the Visio subscription, a client can be put in contact with a staff member in under five minutes. Our sales team is on hand to answer questions about how Autolib works while the assistance team helps clients to resolve whatever difficulties they may come across. For example, they will guide you to the closest car park.
But can a user in a hurry be sure to find an Autolib station with a car available?
M.C: We have already installed 750 rental and subscription stations, and tomorrow there will be about 1,050, representing between 5,000 and 6,000 parking spots reserved for Bluecars both in Paris and in Île-de-France. Moreover, one of the main missions of our operational staff on the ground, apart from car maintenance and client assistance, is to move vehicles from one spot to another to ensure optimal balance. Finally, it should be noted that it is possible to book your car 30 minutes in advance, and your parking spot one and a half hours before you park. When you understand how difficult it is to park in Paris, you can gauge the comparative advantage that we offer on this market today…
Isn’t it restrictive to drive a car that ultimately has limited battery life?
Certain electric vehicles only have 70 km in battery life. It is unfortunately this type of information that people retain. But our Bluecars have Lithium Polymer batteries allowing them to drive 250 km, which is largely adequate for urban and semi-urban trips.
How does one become an Autolib subscriber?
M.C: All information can be found on our web site autolib.eu. You can also go directly to one of our 70 subscription spaces with your driver’s licence, a piece of ID, and your bankcard, to rent a vehicle on the spot.
Do you have development projects outside of Île-de-France?
Major French cities are interested in the project. We have also met a few big international cities. Calls for tenders will be launched in 2013, and we will obviously be applying.
Since when has the Autolib offer also addressed the B-to-B market?
S.A: We chose to launch the B-to-B offer in September 2012. The service for individuals thus enabled us to wear in the system and to formalise the offer for businesses. Within a semester, we have already notched up 50 subscriber businesses, VSEs, SMEs as well as key accounts. As we operate in the context of a public service delegation, it is important for us not to discriminate in any way and to be able to aim our offers to all types of businesses.
What does this offer consist in?
We have 7 offers ranging from 25 hours to 2,000 hours per month, that can be used by one or several hundred employees. Businesses thus have the option of adapting their subscription closely to their monthly consumption of mobility.
Why is it worthwhile for businesses to call on your services?
S.A: I would say that we offer them great flexibility. We also allow them to offer a travel alternative to their employees, that replaces public transport, taxis, or else rarely used company vehicles. And the fact that this alternative is ecological is particularly interesting for businesses obliged to publish yearly environmental reports. With our 445 stations in inner Paris, we offer a more-than-satisfactory geographical coverage, that is particularly attractive to key accounts, architect and law firms, communication agencies… All professions where it is important to be able to move about freely from one branch to another, or else to see clients. It should be noted that we also offer long-term fleet rental services to businesses. Cars carry the company brand’s colours and recharging stations can be set up near their premises. These are obviously customised services that we adapt to the needs of the companies who call upon us.