The electric car rental company UFODrive has raised 19 million US dollars in its Series A funding round. The main investors are car rental company Hertz and the private equity firm Certares. Hertz plans to use UFODrive’s digital rental and fleet management technology to operate its global electric car fleet.
For its part, the European company UFODrive plans to use the capital to accelerate its product development and expand globally, with a focus on the USA. Investor Hertz recently ordered 100,000 electric cars from Tesla and plans to make 50,000 of them available to Uber drivers in the US.
UFODrive relies on its SaaS platform and therefore calls itself the “first fully digital, fully electric car rental company controlled by an app”. The software platform is designed to maintain a lean operation thanks to AI tools, and the company also promises “lower energy costs, better charging and optimal fleet utilisation”. In mid-2020, UFODrive launched fleet management software for electric cars. The Luxembourg-based company already rents electric vehicles in various European cities and now also offers the new software ‘eMobility Fleet Manager’.
Hertz has said that it has already been testing the SaaS platform for the past year and now wants to use the UFODrive software for its electric car fleet. “Our partnership with UFODrive is yet another major step in Hertz becoming an essential component of the modern mobility ecosystem,” said Mark Fields, Hertz interim CEO. “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.”
Beyond the two main investors Hertz and Certares, Knighthead Capital Management and other investors also participated in the financing round. Although it is not yet clear what share of the $19 million (€16.7 million) will be coming from Hertz, the companies have revealed that Jayesh Patel, senior vice president of strategy at Herz will join UFODrive’s board of directors, as will Chantal Noble Haldorsen, who is the venture lead at Certares.
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