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Renault, Bollore Discuss Tie-Up on Car Sharing and Electric Vehicles

PARIS–Renault SA (RNO.FR) is exploring plans to invest in French industrialist Vincent Bollore’s urban car-sharing business, part of a broader partnership that could see the two develop and produce electric cars together.

Both Renault and Mr. Bollore’s family business said Thursday that they are considering creating a joint venture to win new contracts for car-sharing projects like the one Mr. Bollore has spearheaded in Paris. Known as Autolib’, that project has already put a fleet of silver electric cars and pod-like charging stations on Paris streets.

As part of the deal, Renault could take a stake in two of Mr. Bollore’s first extensions of the idea in the French cities of Lyon and Bordeaux, the two companies said in a joint statement.

The potential collaboration could also extend to Renault’s taking over production of some of Mr. Bollore’s electric cars — known as Bluecars — and the possible development of a new three-seat vehicle that would be just over 10 feet long with a range of over 120 miles, the companies added.

Renault’s potential collaboration with Mr. Bollore comes as both electric vehicles and car-sharing have become hot topics in the automobile and tech businesses. On one hand, companies like BMW AG are jumping into the electric business following the buzz around companies like Tesla Motors Inc. Meanwhile, car-sharing through apps like taxi-hailing service Uber and ride-sharing service BlaBlaCar are seeing rising popularity.

In France, electric car sales have been doubling every year since 2011, but the volumes remain small. By the end of June, roughly 5,200 electric cars and another 2,500 electric utility vans were registered in the country, according to Alix Partners.
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