E-car renter launches Tesla fleet in Ireland
UFODrive plans to roll out in 20 European cities by year end, writes Fearghal O'Connor
Irish company UFODrive has unveiled a fleet of five Tesla Model S electric cars for its new Dublin city centre all-digital, all-electric car rental service.
The company - which first launched in Luxembourg Airport and now also has locations in Brussels City, Brussels Airport, Hamburg and Cologne Airports - has launched a hub at St Stephen's Green as part of a planned Europe-wide expansion to 20 cities by the end of the year.
Apart from the initial fleet of Tesla's, the company will make available a range of other electric cars at its new Dublin hub, including the Jaguar iPace, the Audi eTron, the Hyundai Kona Electric and the Nissan Leaf. "We are planning to also launch four cities in the Netherlands this week," said UFO Drive chief executive Aidan McClean. "We have also signed agreements with Dusseldorf and Vienna and we are in discussions with Copenhagen and Milan."
The Dublin service launches tomorrow with the Tesla fleet and McClean said that it took delivery of 12 left-hand drive Tesla Model 3s in recent days for its European operations and will have a fleet of 10 Model 3s in Dublin by the autumn.
If the St Stephen's Green hub is successful the company has plans to open in at least one other Dublin location, as well as in Cork.
"We have an agreement with Tesla that means the screen experience in the car is customised for UFODrive customers," said McClean. "The driving performance is phenomenal."
McClean - who previously worked in financial services - part-funded the business himself along with co-founder and chief operating officer Renaud Marquet and said that the company is backed by a group of largely Luxembourg-based private investors.
"We have started working on a second round of funding for international expansion into the US," he said.
The service - which has a minimum one-day rental and has variable pricing from about €100 a day - is run entirely through an app which allows users to hire and unlock their car without having to queue or deal with rental staff.
"Over the years I have travelled extensively for business and pleasure and rented probably a hundred cars a year," said McClean. "It was never a pleasant experience and I couldn't figure out why it wasn't quicker and easier. We wanted to rethink the whole experience from the customer point of view from the ground up. The solution is that the entire rental process takes place and is managed from start to finish via the app."
Sunday Indo Business