Hertz announced that it has invested in a new self-service electric vehicle rental company known as UFODRIVE – a European company that offers the first all-digital, all-electric car rental service entirely controlled by a Smartphone App. Hertz, still fresh off of its hefty purchasing agreement with Tesla, is expanding its EV commitment with the UFODRIVE partnership to make renting a Model 3 even easier than it was before.
UFODRIVE delivers a two-minute “arrive and drive,” completely digital EV customer experience. Customers renting an electric car from Hertz can book, register, and drive their car, all without any interaction with a human being or Hertz associate. Streamlining the EV rental process, UFODRIVE is available 24/7 as every task along the way can be controlled through your phone and the app. The collaboration between Hertz and UFODRIVE “makes transitioning to electric easy for both customers and fleet providers – delivering lean operations, lower energy costs, better charging and optimal fleet utilization using advanced AI tools.”
Hertz announced in October 2021 that it would invest in electric vehicles. The rental company made it clear that it would go in with both feet, revealing a massive order for 100,000 Tesla Model 3s in a deal worth over $4 billion. CEO Elon Musk confirmed that Hertz bought the vehicles at full price. Tesla vehicles have been arriving at various locations across the United States for Hertz clients to drive. A Hertz spokesperson recently told Teslarati that it was “actively receiving deliveries for both our retail and Uber rental fleet and have availability in several markets throughout the country as part of our phased national rollout.”
Hertz also announced an exclusive partnership with Uber later in October, which would allow customers to rent Teslas when using the Uber network.
Hertz and Certares, a Manhattan-based investment firm, led UFODRIVE’s Series A financing round in partnership with Knighthead Capital Management.
“Our partnership with UFODRIVE is yet another major step in Hertz becoming an essential component of the modern mobility ecosystem,” Hertz Interim CEO Mark Fields said. “Together, we will pilot ways to make renting an EV even easier using UFODRIVE’s digital platforms for both the rental experience and fleet management. For customers, this partnership will help us create the future rental car experience that is all-digital and EV-centric.”
“Born from a vision to deliver what we call ‘Radically Better Car Rental,’ this investment is a major validation of that dream,” said UFODRIVE CEO Aidan McClean. “We are proud that we are helping to accelerate the transition to zero-emissions mobility, and our investors see the opportunity ahead. We pioneered and are now the premier operating system for electric fleets and already service a growing list of high-profile mobility companies.”
Live testing of the UFODRIVE app with Hertz rental vehicles has already occurred in 2021 and was widely successful. Hertz aims to deploy the UFODRIVE rental and fleet management tech to enhance its global electric vehicle fleet operations. Initially available in Europe and the U.S., the fully digital rental experience makes the process streamlined, efficient, and easy for travelers.
The $19 million funding round will be used “to accelerate product development and to expand globally, with a focus on the U.S. market,” UFODRIVE said.
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