Turo, a solution of choice for renting an electric car in the United States

Discovering distant horizons in electric has never been so easy. We tried Turo’s solution.

Sustainable development is at the center of attention, whatever the activity. Like the automobile, the travel and tourism sector is also affected. Most players emphasize sustainability, whether travel agencies or hotels. This is how the Booking search site integrated a Sustainable Travel Establishment criterion into its engine, which targets establishments implementing a set of actions to control energy consumption and limit waste. Even companies display their CSR (corporate social responsibility) approach, such as Air France, which aims to reduce its carbon footprint with its Climate Plan. A paradox when it comes to traveling to the other side of the world by plane, considered one of the most polluting modes of transport on the planet. That is.

Turo, the Airbnb of the automobile

But ecological considerations can be close to the heart of many travelers, who are aware that any human activity will generate pollution, but who want to contribute on their own scale to the reduction of polluting emissions. Even those who could therefore favor “green” hotels, but also cleaner local trips with an electric rental car. The fact remains that the offer is still thin among rental companies in the USA, and is very generally limited to a few Chevrolet Bolt EVs, Ford Mustang Mach-Es and fleets of Tesla Model 3 and Model Y. The solution to access another level ? turo.

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The car-sharing platform launched in 2010 and based in the suburbs of San Francisco aims to connect individuals wishing to rent their car and travelers with an ephemeral need for mobility. It is aware of climate issues that Andre Haddad, an entrepreneur who cut his teeth at eBay and at the helm of the start-up since 2012, decided to develop Turo’s activities. Its goal: to facilitate car sharing as much as possible, to reduce the selfish needs of car ownership, while allowing cars that are little used to drive.

Also, the solution can easily fall within the framework of ecological considerations, Turo having undertaken to fully offset all the estimated CO2 emissions of its activity and the journeys of the vehicles offered: the start-up has partnered with Bluesource to support sustainable development projects. But it also focuses on the development of electric cars on its platform, highlighted via a dedicated search filter.

A toy box for adults

Those who are driven by environmental considerations, or any other reasons that led them or would lead them to choose an electric car, will therefore find choice on Turo for their American holidays. A solution far removed from the typical souvenir photo, which wants you to put your rental Ford Mustang convertible on the side of a road heading straight for Monument Valley. And a very different choice from those who still revel in the guttural back and forth of the pistons of a Ford Mustang GT500-H (only available from Hertz).

But the many advantages since they have lower operating costs, simplify the use of performance and allow you to benefit from all their own characteristics, with technological interiors and silent operation. In addition, the choice is wide and Turo allows access to untouchable cars in normal times, or even in any traditional rental agency. A considerable catalog of electric cars then opens up, ranging from the first generation Fiat 500 Electric to the Rivian R1T, via the Mercedes EQS or Nissan Leaf.

It is also possible to get your hands on the brand new Ford F-150 Lightning, the first Tesla Roadster, even to reserve a Tesla Model S Plaid, or an exclusive Lucid Air Dream Edition in San Francisco, which is none other than the personal car of Andre, the CEO of Turo! In short, there is something for all tastes and budgets, with disconcerting ease of access.

Because when it comes to renting a car, rental agencies can be a little too finicky: some require specific conditions while most require an international license before leaving, even if state law does not not impose it. But it is above all the terms of payment that can complicate the operation, the type of card to be used not always being clear: debit card or credit card, it is not the same thing in the United States, and many travelers stayed on the floor.

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Turo is much more flexible: all you have to do is fill in your personal information in advance, send a copy of your driver’s license and a photo. If all the conditions are met, your profile will have the status of verified driver, which will then allow you to get in touch with the hosts. Payment is then made automatically by direct debit from your account, but make sure you have an international option with your bank: since the company is tax-based in the USA, foreign payment fees will apply.

Precautions to take

Once the electric idyll has been chosen, you can define the options, particularly in terms of insurance. Several levels exist to limit deductibles in the event of a glitch. We haven’t had the opportunity to skin a car to test Turo’s insurance with Travelers and Surplus Lines, but the system seems to allow you to leave with peace of mind. It is also possible to choose options with unlimited mileage, child seats or an extra for recharges, allowing you to return the car with a lower SoC than at the start.

As soon as the reservation is validated, you can contact the owner to define the details. So you can very well choose a meeting place to collect the car keys by mutual agreement, with or without supplement, through the application or by a hand-to-hand settlement. Advantage with the Tesla: it is possible to have the car unlocked remotely by the owner to recover the card which acts as a key. In any case, each host defines his rules without overriding those of Turo, just like the price of the rental.

But beware of the price before validating: the price displayed is that claimed by the host, for 24 hours. When you select dates, the system automatically calculates one more hour for the return, which validates an additional rental day. Remember to check the timetables carefully. Also, don’t be surprised to see the price of the insurance taken out, the rental costs (Turo’s share depending on the duration and type of vehicle) and other extras added. We have very regularly observed a final price much higher than the initial price displayed. A constant in the United States, even in restaurants…

From then on, a communication module with the rental company opens, where it is possible to discuss the car. When handing over and returning the keys, both can upload as many photos of the vehicle as they want to cover themselves for possible damages. At the end of the journey, the host has the possibility of adding additional costs before being directly debited from your account, such as tolls by registration recognition debited later, like that of the Golden Gate in San Francisco.

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Same thing with the cost of charging with Teslas. As such, they benefit as always from their dedicated network, always locked to only the brand’s cars in the United States. The network being very well developed, there is no need to worry on the road, especially since they offer an effective route planner. The others will be able to charge at Electrify America terminals, which currently has nearly 760 stations across the country. Note that payment can be made here by contactless bank card at an average price close to €0.41/kWh. Note also the mass presence of the EVgo or ChargePoint terminals.

Turo arrives in France

Depending on the host, the vehicle and the options chosen, it is therefore possible to make great savings. Example with a Tesla Model Y offered by Hertz, at a price of €755 for four days of rental. On Turo, it is possible to drive a copy for a total amount of €381 over the same period (with a limit of 800 miles). Another model (priced at €547) offers the unlimited mileage option, pushing the bill up to €765.

In short, this solution has many advantages: to choose a cheaper or, conversely, more exclusive car, Turo gives access to a wide range of models, and this without any hassle provided you have an account. and a valid license according to local laws. But the platform might not be the ideal solution for those who wish to go on a roadtrip: to our knowledge, all vehicles must be returned around their time of pick-up. The dreams of Route 66 between Chicago and Los Angeles therefore fly away, which is not the case with traditional rental companies where it is possible to drop off the car in an agency of the same brand on the other side of the country. .

Finally, note that Turo is no longer an American or Canadian exclusivity. The car-sharing application has just arrived on this side of the Atlantic. And it is through France that it made its entry, with the takeover of OuiCar by the Californian start-up. Counting on nearly 30,000 vehicles, the French platform previously owned by SNCF will bring its fleet before gradually passing under the Turo banner. This will allow many motorists to take advantage of electric mobility for a short time, for pleasure or out of curiosity.

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