CNET writer Shara Tibken rented an electric vehicle for the first time while traveling in Germany. She rented the Tesla Model S for 149 euros per day from UFODrive, a startup that only rents electric vehicles in European cities through its mobile app.
Like many first-time renters of an electric vehicle, Tibken was worried about running out of power with no charging station nearby. To help ease this concern, UFODrive’s app tracks the vehicle’s battery level and directs you to the nearest charging station when needed. It sends an alert when you have 30% battery left and sends another alert when only 10% battery life remains. The app also features a built-in chat support function.
Before Tibken booked the Tesla Model S through UFODrive’s app, the company emailed her tips for operating and charging its electric vehicles.
While driving the Model S from Hamburg to a small German town called Wismar, Tibken experienced range anxiety with the EV. She lost cellphone service and wasn’t receiving UFODrive’s alerts about the vehicle’s battery level. Additionally, she wasn’t looking at the app’s recommendations for Superchargers and slower charging stations while driving.
But even when using the app’s charger locations map, Tibken said some of the charging stations shown weren’t open to the public. UFODrive said its charger map links to a real-time feed of data that checks on the availability of charging stations, but it’s not completely accurate and differs by country.
According to UFODrive, it’s continuing to update its app to add more functionality. For example, charging alerts only come through the app currently, but UFODrive is working toward getting the address of a charging station sent from the phone to the car’s navigation system.
Opening in 2018, UFODrive has expanded from its first location in Luxembourg to airports in Brussels, Vienna, Hamburg, and Cologne-Bonn, Germany, and in city centers in Brussels, Dublin, Paris, Amsterdam, The Hague, and Rotterdam. The company hopes to expand to at least 30 locations next year, including three U.S. cities.
UFODrive’s prices start at 69 euros (about $76) per day for the Nissan Leaf and go up to 159 euros for the Jaguar I-Pace. The price includes insurance, about 217 miles of driving, and charging costs.
Click here for Tibken’s full CNET review.