Virtuo, a European startup that allows customers to hire and unlock premium cars through an app, plans to add around 50 Teslas to its fleet, CNBC reports. The fleets in London and Paris will include approximately 50 Tesla Model 3 Long Range electric vehicles and should be available for customers to book after June 22. Virtuo’s decision to add the Model 3s to its fleet comes from the company’s decision to electrify more of its vehicles.
Virtuo’s co-founder and CEO, Karim Kaddoura, gave an interview to CNBC and noted that there was an “awe” associated with the Tesla brand. He also pointed out that customers have a say in what cars are added to the Virtuo fleet.
“It’s been very clear over the years, and in the last survey that we did, that Tesla Model 3 specifically was the model that everybody wanted to drive,” he said.
He’s hopeful that customers will choose the Tesla, and he told CNBC, “It’s a different experience.” He expounded on that, saying, “It’s undeniably packed with the latest features and innovations that are nothing like any other car.”
This particular version of the Model 3 can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds and has a range of 360 miles. Customers will be able to pick up their Model 3 or have it delivered for an additional fee. Although prices will vary, they start out at a very familiar number that would probably give Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, a chuckle.
Virtuo customers will be able to hire the Tesla for a daily start of around £69 ($96) per day. Kaddoura noted that Virtuoa has 150,000 active customers and a total fleet of 4,000 vehicles available for hire across France, the UK, Italy, and Spain. He told CNBC that although the business collectively wanted to add Tesla vehicles to its fleet for many years, Koddoura wanted to understand additional operational challenges that EVs may have before bringing them into the fleet.
One of the main challenges that held Virtuo back was the lack of EV infrastructure. Another factor is the driving range between those chargers. However, Tesla has solved those problems with both its global Supercharging network and advancements in technology enabling its vehicles to have some of the highest range numbers among available EVs. Kelley Blue Book recently published an article compiling a list of the longest-range EVs of 2021. The top four are Teslas, with the Model 3 ranking at number 3.
Teslas are not the only EVs in Virtuo’s fleet. The company added several Hyundai Kona EVs to its fleet during the first quarter in hopes of learning what it takes to operate EVs in general. “We didn’t want to get Tesla into the catalog without having at least a bit of experience on that,” Kaddoura told CNBC.
It wasn’t until after Virtuo’s investors added $60 million to the company last month before Virtuo made the decision to add the Teslas to its fleet. The total investment into Virtuo is now at $96 million, and it plans to use the additional funds to accelerate the electrification of its fleet.