Australia’s first company specialising in electric vehicle rentals and hire cars is now branching out into a new business – EV car sharing – where the owners of Tesla and other EVs rent out their cars.
Slava Kozlovskii, the director of Sydney-based Eveeh has so far signed up 15 owners of Tesla Model S vehicles and Nissan Leafs, and is looking for at least another 10 to launch the car-sharing service at the end of the month.
Kozlovskii says the EV owners are motivated by the need to help pay for their vehicles – the Model S starting price is around $120,000 – or simply to “share the love” of driving an EV.
EV’s have a high up-front cost, but much lower running costs. That provides a greater incentive to use the car more often rather than leaving it in the garage. The idea behind car-sharing – and many predict that this is the future model of car ownership – is to maximise the use of the asset.
The other attraction, Kozlovskii says, is that EVs much have fewer moving parts and so less wear and tear, so the idea of renting out the vehicle is not so forbidding. “Wear and tear does not affect an EV as much as a petrol car,” he says.
The biggest challenge was insurance – a standard comprehensive plan won’t cover an EV owner renting out his car, but Kozlovskii has negotiated a deal with insurers that provides that cover – as long as it happens through his company.
Eveeh already has two Tesla Model S and one Nissan Leaf in its fleet in Sydney and Melbourne, and its clients are mostly wedding parties or people wanting to experience or enjoy driving an EV for a day.
This is the same principle that he will take to the car-sharing model, only that he will be pooling cars owned by individuals in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane, and elsewhere if they are interested.
“The idea is for renters to go to the website, search for location and vehicles, and the availability of people’s cars, and if happy with the options, request a booking.
“The owners will create a profile, choose when they want to make their EVs available, and while we will provide guidance on pricing, it the actual fee is their choice.”
So far 15 EV owners have been signed up, a roughly equal mixture of Teslas and Nissan Leafs. His pre-launch target is 25 and – with investor backing, he can scale that up quickly – and he would like to sign up some owners of BMW i3 EVs, just to complete the mix of attractive vehicles.
“This is another early step in the sharing economy. These plans exist, but only with standard vehicles. We don’t want petrol engines, we believe the transition should happen much faster,” Kozlovskii says.
“The EV niche is small but it poised to grow quickly. There are only around 3,500 EVs in the whole country, but the growth rates will be stunning.”
And once people drive an EV, he says, they find it hard to go back to the internal combustion engine. “All the reviews we had, all of them have been five stars, we haven’t had a single four star rating. People love the experience.