Bolt launches short-term car rental service – Bolt Drive – in Estonia

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Yesterday, during a virtual summit hosted by Huawei, Arthur Goldstuck presented the industries, sectors and jobs that may not make it to 2030.

Among those was the parking lot which would become staging sites from which autonomous vehicles could be ordered.

While not autonomous, Bolt is pushing ahead with the idea of not owning a car and renting one when you need it.

Bolt Drive launched Estonia this week (Bolt’s headquarters are located here) and it lets customers rent a car for a short period of time via the Bolt app.

“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. 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. Our customers will have access to a car at any time, from the same app they already use for scooters, e-bikes and ride-hailing,” explains chief executive officer at Bolt, Markus Villig.

Bolt Drive is described as a free-floating car-sharing service where you would be able to locate a car near you and book it. Everything from booking through to unlocking the car is done through the Bolt app and, perhaps the best part, you don’t have to pay for fuel or parking as these costs are included in the fee.

Speaking of which, how much does Bolt Drive cost?

At present Bolt advertises Drive prices as “from as low as €0.07 per minute” which works out to R1.21. For an hour long rental, this works out to €4.20 or R72.33 which, depending on how far you travel, could mean it’s cheaper than using Bolt’s ride sharing service.

You must of course have a valid driving license in order to make use of Bolt Drive.

As mentioned, Bolt Drive is currently only available in Estonia but regional manager for Bolt in Southern Africa, Gareth Taylor, says that the service may expand to other countries.

“Bolt Drive will first be piloted in Estonia, with the potential to expand to other countries if the model is successful. Bolt will continue to find innovative ways to bring our customers a choice of affordable and convenient mobility options that meet local needs and respond to local economies of scale,” says Taylor.

Would Bolt Drive work in South Africa? The pessimist in us says no but we’d also really like to see something like this in South Africa. Of course security is a concern but so is connectivity.

As great as Bolt Drive sounds, we aren’t confident we’ll see it in South Africa any time soon. We would be very happy to eat these words though, Bolt.

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.