Aidan McClean (UFODRIVE): electric disruption
Frustrated by lousy customer experience and passionate about the climate, CEO Aidan McClean launched UFODRIVE, to disrupt the car rental business and bring it into the digital world. Interview.
Can you describe UFODRIVE in a few words ?
UFODRIVE is the fastest, easiest car rental service offering premium electric cars. We are a small and lean team of seasoned experts comprising 17 specialists in transport, financial services, project management and software engineering. We are currently spreading across Europe – with a presence in eight major capitals and airports - and in we are working on our first US locations right now to open later this year. The company was born out of personal frustration with car rental companies and terrible customer experience. I wanted to change this business and drive electric vehicles as I am passionate about protecting the climate. I therefore brought the two things together by combining a really fast customer experience and clean transport. Our company has been backed by private investors in Luxembourg and Ireland and we are currently working on a big funding round for our series A to enable further business expansion.
“Mobility transition paired with a change around ownership is going to generate a massive structural shift towards electric cars.”
How is UFODRIVE disrupting the car rental business ?
We are changing the car rental business completely. We deliver a radically better customer experience: there is no rental office, no paper-trail, no queuing, no confusing insurance policies and very transparent pricing. We are disrupting the rental business as we are changing the economics of the business model with our lean technology. The sector is characterized by a very high volume of business, very low margins mixed with auxiliary operations such as buying and selling cars. UFODRIVE has built a very slick and lean back office operation – with no staff on location. It is based on a self-service and our margins are therefore considerably higher than traditional renters. While changing the customer experience and changing the economics of the business, we are helping people shift to green and clean electric vehicles.
What opportunities and challenges do you foresee in your sector in the next five years ?
The car rental and transport sectors are going to witness massive structural changes for two reasons. The first is the shift towards electric transport. In the coming years, there will be less and less tolerance of diesel and petrol cars. There is going to be a massive and rapid shift towards electric conveyance implying fundamental business changes in the car rental and transport sectors. Secondly, the attitude towards car ownership is evolving with the younger generation. Ownership of a car is no longer a primary objective for millennials 64% of whom have no intention of ever owning a car instead favoring public transport, car-sharing and rental. The transportation transition paired with changing ideas around ownership are going to generate a massive structural shift towards electric cars. Furthermore, the increasing performance of electric cars is going to further accelerate this structural change.