Europe

Uber rival Bolt launches car-sharing service in Europe

Bolt CEO Markus Villig

Bolt

Bolt, the Estonian firm best known for its ride-hailing business, announced Tuesday that it has launched a car-sharing service in Europe as it looks to diversify its revenue streams.

Like ZipCar and Drivy, Bolt Drive will allow customers to rent a car on demand for a brief period via the Bolt app, which can also be used to hail a taxi, rent bikes and e-scooters, as well as to order food.

Bolt said it is going to invest 20 million euros ($24 million) in launching Bolt Drive in Europe this year, starting with a pilot in the Estonian capital of Tallinn where it is headquartered. A spokesperson for the company said Bolt Drive will launch in several other European markets this year if the Tallinn pilot is successful.

The pilot will feature 500 vehicles including models such as the Toyota Yaris, Volkswagen Golf and Skoda Scala, as well as bigger cars like the Toyota CHR, Volkswagen Troc and Skoda Kamiq. There will also be electric cars like the Volkswagen ID.3 and premium cars like the Volkswagen Arteon.

Costs will vary depending on the car that is rented. But a Toyota Yaris, for example, will cost 0.07 euros per minute (with an hourly cap of 3.90 euros) and 0.15 euros per km. That means the price of renting a Toyota Yaris for two hours and driving it 10 km would be 9.30 euros. Users do not have to pay for parking or fuel.

Markus Villig, CEO and founder of Bolt, said in a statement that he wants people to give up their own personal cars. “For people to switch from ownership to on-demand transport, we need to offer a more convenient, affordable and environmentally sustainable option for every distance,” said Villig, who became the youngest founder of a billion-dollar company in Europe in 2019.

“We are already doing this for short and medium distance trips. Bolt Drive now covers the rest of the use cases, whether it’s a trip to a shopping mall or a weekend getaway.”

Bolt, which claims to have more than 50 million users across 40 countries in Europe and Africa, is valued at around $2 billion. It raised 150 million euros last December in what was its biggest funding round to date, and 20 million euros from the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) last month.

 

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