July 3, 2018 / 1:47 PM / 2 years ago

PSA, Renault vying for car-sharing scheme in Paris

FILE PHOTO: The Peugeot logo on a Peugeot 508 before a PSA Group news conference on the company's 2017 annual results announcement at their headquarters in Rueil-Malmaison, near Paris, France, March 1, 2018. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - Carmakers PSA (PEUP.PA) and Renault (RENA.PA) are vying to offer a car sharing scheme in Paris to replace Autolib, the electric car sharing service run by French tycoon Vincent Bollore’s group that was recently ditched by local authorities after a dispute.

PSA will launch during the last quarter of 2018 a “free floating” car-sharing scheme in Paris, allowing drivers to pick up an electric vehicle at one location and leave it elsewhere in the city, the carmaker said in a statement.

It said it planned initially to have some 500 electric Peugeot and Citroen cars available in the French capital.

PSA already operates free floating car-sharing services in Madrid and Lisbon.

PSA issued the statement after the Paris City Hall said Mayor Anne Hidalgo and Thierry Bollore, deputy CEO of French carmaker Renault - who is not related to Vincent Bollore - would hold a news conference on Wednesday focused on “the emergence of new electric vehicle services for Paris, the Paris region and its visitors.”

Renault already offers a car sharing service in France, “Renault Mobility” and operates 500 Zoe electric cars in “free floating” in Madrid.

Local councillors for the Syndicat Autolib’ Vélib’ Métropole (SAVM), which manages the scheme for about 100 municipalities in the Paris region, last month refused a request by the Bollore group 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.

Reporting by Gilles Guillaume, Benjamin Mallet; writing by John Irish and Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Richard Lough

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