European electric car rental startup UFODrive launches in San Francisco

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UFODrive, a European electric car rental company, landed in San Francisco on Thursday, marking the start-up’s US expansion.

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A startup that provides users with an easy and contactless way to rent and subscribe to electric vehicles is coming to California at a time when gas prices are still low. an incredibly high price of $5.56.. Although this number has declined in recent weeks, it still exceeds the national average. Add to that the constant shortage of rental cars and the cultural zeitgeist that embraces all things electric, and UFODrive has a potentially winning product in the marketplace.

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The US launch of UFODrive follows the company’s rapid growth in 16 European cities including London, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam and Dublin since its founding in 2018. The startup is also planning separate launches in New York and Austin in October.

There are other companies around the world that provide similar services. For example, On the as well as move provide monthly electric vehicle subscriptions in the UK and Norway respectively. UFODrive is different in that it offers a combination of a classic daily or weekly rental and a monthly subscription. However, the San Francisco launch will initially offer a net lease.

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According to Edain McLean, CEO of UFODrive, bookings can be made on the UFODrive app, where each customer goes through the entire process – check-in, identity verification, vehicle location, damage check, contract signing and check-out.

Bay Area customers can visit one of two downtown San Francisco car bays on either side of Market Street, where they can use the app to access their car without a key.

UFODrive worked with Inspiration, tan electric vehicle asset finance firm that supplied New York-based Revel with its own set of Tesla electric vehicles to drive around the city.ing to get about 20 Tesla Model 3s and Model Ys in place for the launch. Like the start-up in Europe, UFODrive plans to lead the way with Tesla’s dazzle for first places and expand its range based on customer feedback and availability, according to McLean, who noted that UFODrive is also looking forward to Ford’s inclusion in the lineup.

In Europe, the fleet Mainly Tesla Model 3, Model S and Model Y with Volkswagen ID3, ID4, Hyundai Kona EV, Cupra Born, Polestar and others, McLean said.

A software platform designed to minimize the fear of an electric car

man holding his phone to unlock rented tesla via app

Customers can unlock rented electric vehicles through the UFODrive app. Image credit: NLODRive

“One of our biggest concerns when we launched UFODrive was to make people comfortable when using an electric vehicle and to minimize or eliminate anxiety throughout a rental, not just pickup,” McLean told TechCrunch. “From day one, our platform has been built to identify issues before they occur. The team is notified if the customer has not completed any of the pickup steps, cannot start the car, is driving with a battery level below 30%, is trying to charge at a station, etc. In these cases, our team may contact the customer in advance to make sure that he’s fine if he hasn’t contacted us yet. As a result, we have never had a problem with range or charging over 20 million kilometers.”

The UFODrive platform is also designed to guide drivers to the exit of the bay, guide them to the nearest charger and explain how to charge their vehicle. If a customer has a problem, they can use the app to contact one of the startup’s customer service agents 24/7, who can remotely unlock or turn on the vehicle, use cameras to check for unreported damage, perform system updates, conduct identity checks, and add drivers, McLean said.

It is this software platform that UFODrive also hopes to sell as a SaaS product, especially to legacy rental companies to help them transition their rental models to electric vehicles. Really a car rental giant Hertz and travel-focused investment firm Certares led the UFODrive Series A in March.signaling the possibility of a broader partnership in this area.. Hertz appears to be particularly interested in moving to electric vehicles in October 2021. the company said it is investing in the Tesla fleet and aims to offer the largest electric car rental fleet in North America.

How does the price compare?

UFODrive has yet to release its rates for San Francisco, but in Amsterdam, for example, renting a Tesla from a startup for the weekend can average around $200, depending on the model. A quick search on Kayak, an aggregator for flights, hotels and car rentals, shows a similar price for combustion engine vehicles, and this does not include the cost of gasoline or additional drivers.

Renting a UFODrive includes things like extra drivers, most tolls and free charging, McLean said.

“No rental energy costs, no matter your mileage or distance,” he said. “It used to be a good deal, but with current gas prices and price gouging from the old rental companies, it’s really good.”

McLean also pointed to the UFODrive loyalty reward program, which could help drive down rental costs.

“To achieve our goal of moving people to sustainable rentals, we need to be competitive, but the EV model is inherently more efficient so we can be competitive and profitable,” McLean said.

While UFODrive is starting with a consumer push, the company does see itself as a long-term solution for delivery drivers and last mile transportation, according to a company spokesperson.


Credit: techcrunch.com /

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