La Blue Car – France’s Hope for an Electric Car: Nipped in the Bud


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You’ll remember in a past post I raved about La Blue Car prototype: Designed by a Frenchmen, built in partnership with the company Bolloré? Its projected date for commercial production was January 2009.

Don’t bother looking for it. If you caught a glimpse of La Blue Car at the Geneva auto show, consider yourself lucky. According to everything that I read about its design, the builders had resolved many of the issues – such as speed, it has good pick up. The battery is one that can be recharged quickly and of course the cost for running this car is peanuts.

So why did the commercial production get canceled? There you’ve got me.

Excuse me if I rant here. But clearly this was a golden opportunity to get the first fully electric car on the road, built and designed in France. It was the ideal moment to show that France could be a LEADER in new energy sources and application rather than a FOOTDRAGGER.

In fact President Sarkozy highlighted in his campaign issues the importance of producing alternative energy in France.

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What will happen to the Blue Car? Its design will be acquired by an Italian company and retooled to create a car – that naturally will not be electric – or anything like the Blue Car. How sad, here’s a country that could produce an electric car as early as 1899 (Jamais Contente) and, in the 21st century, the French government has not seen fit to subsidize electric car production on French soil. Why must France wait for Toyota or BMW to be the first electric car on the block when they already have the prototype sitting in the garage?

Call me a pessimist, but I had heard rumors that plans for electric cars have been available since the 1970s (when we suffered through the first oil crisis). I suppose that if I were in the oil business, knowing that electric cars might eventually do away with the need for gasoline for cars – I would strongly discourage anyone from putting an electric car on the road.

Starting a new business is always a gamble and needs money to get started. It would be a lot easier to come up with a great idea for an electric car that really works and hope that you might get paid a hefty some to shelve the plan – forever.

Le Figaro recently reported that BMW is expected to come out with a new hybrid. One thing is certain. You can be sure that the people who really can’t afford to pay the prices at the gas pumps will not be the first ones to drive out of car dealerships in their new BMW. Few new jobs will be created for French people if the Toyota and BMW capture the electric car market first.

Il faut se reveiller! Time to wake up! The days may be getting longer as springtime approaches, but the time grows shorter for France to stride out in front.

If a government sincerely wants to make electric car production a priority for energy conservation, any company that comes up with an electric car patent such as La Blue Car should be obliged (if they fail to come up with the means to put the car into production) to put the production design into public access. Just about every French family has a ‘bricoleur’ or a putterer who could start building their own cars. Why not? Scrap the whole concept of assembly line and make your cars at home. Just an idea.


7 thoughts on “La Blue Car – France’s Hope for an Electric Car: Nipped in the Bud

  • boris

    Your link on the word “canceled” is to an article dates Jan. 31st that states the BlueCqr protoype will lead to a joint production by Bolloré and Pininfarina under a different name, but in keeping with some original features, including the electrical engine.
    Maybe you’ve come up with more recent information ?

  • Mary

    “I suppose that if I were in the oil business, knowing that electric cars might eventually do away with the need for gasoline for cars – I would strongly discourage anyone from putting an electric car on the road.”

    That’s a huge part of the answer. The oil companies are HUGE, have LOTS OF MONEY and use that money to their advantage.

    I don’t care which country comes up with the electric car. Happy to acknowledge the nation that does.

    I read, see and hear endless accounts of global warming, need to respect our environment, blah, blah, blah, but what I “actually” note is that we don’t want to be inconvenienced. And the oil companies are partly to blame, as well as those who can afford their jets, their SUVs, their comforts at the expense of the environment (and
    many of those are the loudest in their
    condemnations of our misuse of this earth).

    And so it goes until…

  • Parisgirl Post author

    Yes, the Moteurnature.com article stated that Bollore and Pininfarina have entered into a joint venture that will supposedly keep La Blue Car’s lithium battery (which allowed La Blue Car to run for 250 km without recharging). While it was thought that La Blue Car would revolutionize the electric car – it’s suggested that credit will go to its ‘Italian daughter’, the result of the Bollore/Pininfarina venture. The article also mentioned that the new car will be ‘completely different’ from La Blue Car. That leaves much to conjecture. Will you still be able to travel for 250 km on electric? And, of course, what about the cost? La Blue Car was projected to be in the 15,000 Euro range. The French designer gets dropped by the wayside. I love Italian design, but a new design costs more money. Where will the cars actually be produced – in France, in Italy – or elsewhere? You may have also noticed the article just beneath the linked Bollore/Pininfarina story about a Renault electric car being produced in Denmark!
    My big concern about La Blue Car and this subsequent joint venture (promised to bear fruit by ‘la rentree’ i.e. September is whether this is just more carrot dangling. Do you really believe that an Franco-Italian joint venture will get it together by September? France may end up completely missing the boat. The design goes to the Italians and the production goes elsewhere. Sorry to be pessimistic on this one, but I had really looked forward to seeing the Blue Car on the streets of Paris by January 2009.

  • Mary

    “I suppose if I were in the oil business, knowing that electric cars might eventually do away with the need for gasoline for cars – I would strongly discourage anyone from putting an electric car on the road.”

    That’s a huge part of the answer. The oil companies are HUGE, have LOTS OF MONEY and use that money to their advantage.

    I don’t care which country comes up with the electric car. Happy to acknowledge the nation that does.

    I read, see and hear endless accounts of global warming, need to respect our environment, blah, blah, blah, but what I “actually” note is that we don’t want to be inconvenienced. And the oil companies are partly to blame, as well as those who can afford their jets, their SUVs, their comforts at the expense of the environment (and
    many of those are the loudest in their
    condemnations of our misuse of this earth).

    And so it goes until…

  • Parisgirl Post author

    We drive a Peugeot 206 which is a feisty little car and not too expensive. Back in the US – a Toyota Echo. The Toyota echo gets 33-35 miles per gallon.
    The Blue Car would have gotten about 250 km for the cost of 1 Euro. You’re right. Whoever produces a reasonably priced electric car, be it Italian, Danish or French, the bottom line is getting the car out there on the roads.

  • Parisgirl Post author

    Right now, it appears that Brazil is way ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to getting rid of our oil dependency. Apparently France has had the capability of designing cars using alternative energy for YEARS but for some reason these cars never make it to market.

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