UAE-based mobility startup ekar has partnered with CarPro, a rental fleet management platform, to enable car rental and leasing companies with over 500,000 rental cars to digitally rent cars via the ekar platform.
In a bid to fulfill ekar’s mission to become the world’s largest personal mobility provider, CarPro will utilize ekar’s Mobility OS within its fleet management software. With this process, car rental companies can enable vehicles onto the ekar app and benefit from its features- such as contactless rental process, increased fleet utilization, driver behavior analytics and real-time vehicle tracking.
The car rental startup enables users to rent cars by minute, hour or day through its mobile app (available for both Android and iOS). After downloading the app, users can register with a valid driving license, ID and a valid credit/debit card. Users can locate cars on the app and book the nearest car, which can be unlocked with the app and find the key inside its glove box. Consumers can access new combustible and electric vehicles, ranging from economy to premium options. With an increased fleet size, this also means that an available car is more likely in more neighborhoods and areas.
Founded in 2016 by founder Vilhelm Hedberg, ekar has grown from a 15-vehichle pilot program with Etihad Airways, to a multi-country service used by more than 250,000 customers. According to its release, it boasts an impressive 1.33 million trips. It has also raised US $17.5 million in a Series B funding round in 2019, boosting its expansion to the Saudi market.
The partnership is an indication of the car rental industry’s transformational phase as a result of the global pandemic, says Hedberg. “Car rental companies are now embracing more innovative mobility options, recognizing that traditional rental processes are costly, inefficient, and sub-optimal in a digital world that values contact-free solutions.” The integration is also a positive boost on the startup’s sales revenue, as Hedberg states, “On average, this produces double the revenue compared to traditional hires. This flexibility optimizes utilization for our partners, opens up renting to otherwise unknown commuter and youth markets, and provides the flexibility to change lower rates without losing brand pricing identity. The general public benefits from thousands of more cars available for micro or long-term digital rentals.”
Kieron Chalder, CEO of CarPro Systems, comments, “The current market conditions have accelerated fleet digitalization, and we are pleased to act as a technology enabler for our partners, giving them the tools they need to remain competitive in a market that increasingly demands flexibility.”