You all know by now how a lot the CleanTechnica workforce LOVES electrical autos. So once we headed to Austin, TX, final month for a workforce retreat (and the Electrify Expo occasion – North America’s largest electrical automobile pageant), we couldn’t drive round simply any rental automobile. It needed to be an EV. Fortunately our associates at UFODRIVE hooked us up with a Tesla for the weekend*.
After years of getting it proper in Europe, UFODRIVE is a world firm getting traction within the US as the primary all-digital, all-electric automobile rental firm. We had been thrilled to provide it a whirl in Austin and whirl we did.
CleanTechnica’s founder, Scott Cooney, and our CEO, Zach Shahan, each know Teslas inside an out, as seasoned Tesla (and different EV) homeowners. They every not too long ago revealed their respective three-year critiques of Tesla possession (try Scott’s right here and Zach’s right here). So we weren’t first-time EV drivers, however somewhat, first time EV rental automobile customers.
We downloaded the UFODRIVE app, which is required to order, decide up, drop off, unlock, and drive the EVs. The method of getting registered on the app was comparatively painless, although they do require a number of types of ID and proof of handle, so give your self somewhat time to get that arrange. Although as soon as the account has been created and validated (the validation half was tremendous fast), utilizing the app itself is a breeze. UFODRIVE is on the market 24/7 and you’ll swiftly and simply make reservations immediately by means of the app in only a few minutes. No extra coping with these lengthy traces on the rental automobile counter nor the piled up paperwork. Rental automobile customers rejoice!
We struggled a bit to search out the pick-up location, although we had been in a position to rapidly get a reside individual on the UFODRIVE customer support line who was pleasant and intensely useful in getting us to the automobile. We situated the Tesla (branded wildly with UFODRIVE logos, we had been amused to see), unlocked the automobile with no problem, and acquired on the highway in minutes. There have been nice notifications and reminders alongside the best way from the app, like when the automobile’s charging stage was low.
We had some hassle with the Tesla driver settings off the bat, because the seat positioning, steering wheel angle, and so forth., had been all programed indirectly that irrespective of how we moved the seat round and saved driver settings, the settings would default to the programming and transfer the seat and steering wheel again mechanically. Even the Tesla specialists within the group couldn’t determine how one can override this programming, so there have been just a few profanities muttered every time somebody acquired within the driver’s seat.
Except for that, the Tesla driving expertise was similar to that with every other Tesla Mannequin 3: zippy, quick as hell, comfy, responsive, zero emissions, and 0 have to cease at a fuel station. Ultimately you may hire an electrical automobile (!!!), utterly digitally, with out the headache of rental automobile counters, with out worrying about filling the tank while you return it, and – we’ll say it once more – with out emissions!
One problem we did expertise was that the world of city we occurred to be staying in had fairly crappy mobile phone service. This meant the UFODRIVE app was usually sluggish or didn’t work in any respect, which is problematic, as you want the app to be on-line as a way to unlock and drive the EV. We thought maybe a key card left contained in the automobile when you decide up the rental can be good for the instances that cell service is a problem, so you may unlock and drive the automobile with out the usage of the app. Although we all know UFODRIVE is comparatively new in the US, so these kinds of kinks will get labored out alongside the best way.
UFODRIVE offers a charging card, so that you don’t pay a dime for charging, and the app has a characteristic that will help you find related charging stations close by. For some purpose, we couldn’t get the charging card to work at a public charging station (undoubtedly may have been consumer error in that case), however in a while, we discovered a Tesla supercharging station utilizing the app’s charger locator characteristic and had been in a position to cost up (so quick!) with no drawback.
General, we had a blast with our UFODRIVE electrical automobile. We even turned some heads on the Electrify Expo, which may have been because of the bombastic UFODRIVE branding on the automobile, however we wish to suppose folks had been excited to see an electrical rental automobile. It was enjoyable to listen to the CleanTechnica workforce wax poetic about EVs and their experiences driving electrical over time, as we zipped round Austin in our rented Tesla. The UFODRIVE workers, from begin to end, had been pleasant, useful, responsive, and went out of their means to make sure we had an incredible expertise renting an EV. The app is simple to make use of, intuitive, and made reserving and driving easy.
The subsequent time we’re in want of a rental automobile in an UFODRIVE metropolis, we’ll be throughout it. We will’t look forward to UFODRIVE to increase within the US and internationally so everybody can hire an EV when wanted. Test to see if UFODRIVE is in your metropolis right here.
*UFODrive offered the CleanTechnica workforce a rental EV freed from cost throughout our keep in Austin.
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