ESTERO — Rental car giant Hertz recently announced an investment in UFODrive, a self-service electric vehicle rental company and eMobility service provider in Europe.
The Series A financing round in UFODrive, for $19 million, was co-led by Hertz and Certares, in partnership with Knighthead Capital Management, according to a statement, and included participation from existing investors. Hertz Senior Vice President of Strategy Jayesh Patel and Venture Lead at Certares, Chantal Noble Haldorsen, will join the UFODrive board, the release adds. (Knighthead and Certares were two of the key investors that funded Hertz’s $6 billion exit from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May.)
"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 says in the release. "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."
UFODrive, the release states, is the first all-digital, all-electric car rental service controlled from an app. Its advanced eMobility Software-as-a-Service platform makes transitioning to electric easy for both customers and fleet providers, the company says. UFODrive's technology delivers a two-minute 'arrive and drive' entirely digital EV customer experience.
Founded in 2018, Luxembourg-based UFODrive will use the additional capital to accelerate product development and to expand globally, with a focus on the U.S. market, the release states.
The UFODrive investment, meanwhile, builds on Hertz's announcement in October that the company is investing in EVs, the release states, “with a commitment to offer the largest electric vehicle rental fleet in North America and to grow its EV fleet globally.” Also in October, the company announced an exclusive partnership with Uber to make Tesla electric vehicles available for drivers to rent when using the Uber network.
Following successful live testing in 2021, Hertz aims to deploy UFODrive'S market-leading digital rental and fleet management technology to enhance its global EV fleet operations.