Luxembourg-based sustainable car rental company, UFODrive, has raised £1.5M (approx €1.7M) through an equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs, to help expand its business into new geographies. Over 500 Seedrs investors have already joined UFODrive to help fuel a move towards a better solution for customers and the planet.
Speaking on the development, UFODrive founder Aidan McClean says, “It has been both gratifying and exciting to see this vision become reality and we are now looking to jump-start the next phase of our business with this crowdfunding initiative. UFODrive investors can look forward to benefitting from the expansion of a business that has already successfully created its own unique space in the car rental sector. With our new partnerships we are also delighted not only to further enhance our customer rental experience but also to give our customers the added satisfaction of knowing that they are contributing towards a sustainable future.”
Founded in 2018 by Aidan McClean and Renaud Marquet, UFODrive develops an app for a fast and easy car rental experience. It offers no keys, no paperwork, no queues, no fuel or emissions, and hassle-free electric car renting services, providing users with on-demand car rental services at prime city and airport locations across Europe.
The digital platform has already established 17 rental hubs and an all-electric fleet in eight European countries, with its customers benefitting from a network of 140,000 chargers across Europe.
Despite the Covid-19 crisis, the company managed to increase its business by 108 per cent, and has continued to expand its fleet and rental locations. The company plans to expand to further locations in the near future and increase its fleet, as well as start operations in the US.
Tie-up with What3Words to help pinpoint charging points
Electric vehicle charge points are mostly located in a small space in large car parks, at the roadside, or on the grounds of large buildings like hotels or conference centres, making it a challenge for drivers to find them. Mainly for rental customers who visit unfamiliar places or may have less experience of driving an EV.
To take care of this, UFODrive has integrated what3words into their customer app, allowing customers renting its EVs to easily find and navigate to charging points during their rental.
what3words’ location technology divides the world into 3m squares and assigns each one a unique combination of 3 words: a what3words address. UFODrive shares the what3words locations of charge points within their app, ensuring customers will be able to enter and navigate to the precise 3m square where the charger is located.
Announces co-operation with Sono Motors
In January 2020, UFODrive collaborated with the solar mobility provider Sono Motors. Upon its release, the car rental platform will incorporate Sono Motors’ solar car – “the Sion”, into its fleet of electric cars across its network of prime city locations.
“The Sion” is a compact yet spacious electric car with a range of 250 kilometers, that can charge autonomously through the power of the sun. With its solar cells integrated within the body, the car can charge up to 34 kilometers of additional range per day purely by solar energy. Additionally, the car’s maintenance and repair costs are low and have a built-in carsharing function, which makes it ideal for inclusion within the UFODrive fleet.
“Electric vehicles are the future, but this is a future that is with us today. The rationale for a totally electric rental company is strong on many levels and, when we started UFODrive, we set about creating a radically improved car rental experience – eliminating all of those aspects of renting a car that people found frustrating,” explains UFODrive founder Aidan McClean.
Partners up with Ark2030
Earlier in November 2020, UFODrive announced its partnership with Ark2030 – which is committed to reversing global warming and ending the climate crisis by restoring and regenerating 500 million hectares of global ecosystems.
Every UFODrive customer will earn ArkPoints as part of their rental rewards. An ArkPoint is an ecological virtual currency, created by Ark2030. Each ArkPoint represents a monetary value, which gets invested on behalf of UFODrive customers to help fund projects that restore the global ecosystem via an extensive program of tree planting in at-risk areas.
And, for every 100 ArkPoints earned through customer rentals, the car rental company will plant 1 tree. Customers can see the total number of actual trees planted on their behalf through the UFODrive app.