Irish-led UFODrive raises $19m and partners with Hertz

16 Feb 2022

UFODrive rental cars in Dublin. Image: UFODrive

Hertz plans to use UFODrive’s tech to enhance its global EV fleet, while the Irish-led company looks to expand into the US market.

Electric car rental company UFODrive has raised $19m in Series A funding and secured a new partnership with car rental giant Hertz.

The funding round was co-led by Hertz and Certares, in partnership with investment adviser Knighthead Capital. Existing backers also participated in the funding round.

UFODrive, which featured as a Start-up of the Week in 2019, allows customers to use their smartphones to book and drive premium EVs from a variety of pick-up locations.

Founded in Luxembourg by Irishman Aidan McClean along with Renaud Marquet in 2018, the company currently operates in 18 locations globally including Luxembourg, London, Brussels and Dublin.

As well as investing in the company, Hertz said it plans to use UFODrive’s rental and fleet management technology to enhance its global EV fleet operations.

Last October, Hertz made an order for 100,000 Teslas by the end of 2022 and new EV charging infrastructure across its global operations. The move meant that EVs would comprise more than a fifth of Hertz’s total global fleet.

“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 said. “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.”

UFODrive plans to use the investment to accelerate product development and expand globally, with a focus on the US market.

The company said it has experienced sustained growth during the pandemic, while adding home delivery and subscription options to its list of services.

“Born from a vision to deliver what we call ‘radically better car rental,’ this investment is a major validation of that dream,” said CEO McClean. “We are proud that we are helping to accelerate the transition to zero-emissions mobility, and our investors see the opportunity ahead.

“We pioneered and are now the premier operating system for electric fleets and already service a growing list of high-profile mobility companies.”

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic