Making it possible to rent an electric car
A former Apple engineer introduces Joulez, An innovative electric car rental company to transform the car rental industry and promote an EV future
Driven to facilitate the transition to electric vehicles and revolutionize the rental car industry, a new company, Joulez, has launched an innovative EV rental car company.
Joulez is a New York-based web and mobile rental car platform built around the unique needs of EV renters that is seeking to transform the rental industry and create the groundwork for a comprehensive network built around supporting EVs.
The company is the brainchild of CEO Micah Bergdale, a former Apple engineer who was one of the first Mac Geniuses hired as part of Steve Jobs’ launch of the Apple Retail initiative in 2001.
Bergdale is a long-time proponent and supporter of EV technology and his experience working at Apple, being an Apple fan, and subsequently, a Tesla and EV enthusiast played a huge part in his decision to start Joulez.
Joulez has an active, successful Start Engine campaign to help bring its services to market, (https://www.startengine.com/joulez ).
The company’s on-demand system will allow customers to book cars through its mobile app or website with support available through Zoom video conference and reservation management interface. Joulez also intends to build loyalty with its customers through a rewards program that will be similar to those of top hotel brands and airlines - while bundling charging and offering curbside vehicle delivery as part of its unique offering.
As they gear up for its official launch, the company currently has a beta test group of clients renting their Teslas, and they are working to design and develop the mobile app which customers will use to book their cars. Joulez will also offer rentals at competitive rates for the New York City market at a great deal with prices ranging from $75-200/day.
The majority of the funds raised from the first part of their CF campaign will go toward expanding the number of vehicles in the company’s fleet.
“The car rental industry still has yet to catch up with the growing demand for greener transportation,” Bergdale said. “As it stands, EVs only make up about 2% of the cars in the rental industry. We are creating an ecosystem to deploy and support EVs throughout New York City, and ideally North America and around the globe. I am unaware of any company that is looking to start an exclusively EV rental company. The EV industry is primed for major growth, and Joulez is ready to deliver a car rental experience unlike any other.”
Although they are following a traditional rental car model with daily, weekly, and monthly EV rentals, Bergdale stressed that they are looking to do things much differently at Joulez.
“We recognize that renting an EV may take some adjusting for those accustomed to gas cars, and therefore, we are committed to providing our customers with the most user-friendly experience possible. Our first rental confirmed the process required from rental car companies that we have never seen before,” he said. “Drivers who have never driven an EV need an extra level of support including some basic training and reassurance that the vehicle will work well for them. Our service will provide everything the driver needs from the moment they get into the car, including a toll pass (charged back to the customer, based on usage), access to thousands of charging stations (with charging included), delivery and pickup of the vehicle at the customer’s request, and more. Joulez is developing not just an EV rental fleet, but an entire support infrastructure to assist customers along their journey as they discover the power of driving an EV.”
The top potential benefits for investors in Joulez include:
The rental car market is expected to reach $214 billion by 2027, and as Millennials and Gen Z become the largest consumer demographic in the U.S., the demand for green services such as EV rentals will only continue to grow.
Did you know that the resale value of EVs has outperformed traditional gas-powered cars, and the company anticipates this trend to continue, providing a steady financing mechanism to support expanded operations.
Two personal incidents involving the car rental industry also shaped Bergdale’s idea for launching his company. These experiences represent two opposite sides of the customer service spectrum. The first one explains his overall frustration with major car rental companies.
“A few years ago, when renting in Rapid City, SD where I have family, I received a brand-new car just delivered from the factory,” Bergdale said. “That major company’s location replaced all of their fleet with brand new vehicles. For whatever reason, the cars delivered had something in their interior that caused me to have an allergic reaction. My eyes burned and I had an intense headache. I returned the car after one day. Instead of just charging me for the one day, they demanded that I pay for the entire week I had originally reserved. They ignored that I was having an allergic reaction to the vehicle that could have potentially impaired me while driving.”
When he refused to pay for the entire week, the rental company decided that even despite years of customer loyalty to put him on their do not rent list.
His second pivotal customer encounter occurred when he rented a Tesla from a leading car sharing company. Bergdale was struck by the personal care the individual owner took to enhance his EV driving experience.
Bergdale also credits the successful launch of Bytemark as providing him and his founding team with invaluable knowledge about the transportation industry that they will apply to Joulez’s development.
“The Joulez team all worked with me at Bytemark. They held various roles in software development, project management, and marketing and sales. All of us worked together because we had this passion for making mass transit more customer-friendly and seamless. We all have the same passion to see a major transition to EVs.”
Bergdale said they face a similar challenge in updating the car rental industry.
“There are also a lot of dinosaurs in the car rental market. This market is ripe for innovation and a new way of thinking. While many of these traditional rental car companies will undoubtedly bring more EVs into their fleet, we think their customer service experience has been historically poor. So, there is a huge opportunity to create a car rental brand that has customer loyalty that is closer to what we’ve seen with airlines, hotel brands, Apple, and Tesla.” Bergdale said.
“We are starting in NYC because the demand for rentals is high and it can easily absorb hundreds of additional rental vehicles. We want to do CF raises that get us hundreds of vehicles in our fleet with the goal that we will have thousands of vehicles at some point in 2022,” he explained.
Looking ahead Bergdale added they want to partner with EV manufacturers, airport authorities, airlines, EV charging companies, cities, and anyone else who wants to facilitate the progress toward an EV future.
“We all know that this will not happen overnight, and it won’t come together without a joint effort between a lot of partners who all have an important role to play in the success of the transition to EVs,” he said.