June 24, 2017

Evercar seems to shut down car rentals to Uber, Lyft drivers

Evercar, a Los Angeles company offering hourly rentals of electric and hybrid cars to Uber and Lyft drivers in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, may have suspended business, according to a PR firm that had represented it, and to driver comments on the company’s Facebook page. Evercar did not immediately return requests for comment, and its website is still operational.

“It happened fast … I was just informed last week,” Ronjini Joshua, president of Long Beach PR company Silver Telegram, wrote in an email. “Unfortunately, I’m not sure that there is anyone there to actually comment.”

Drivers on Facebook said Evercar had recalled its fleet, while others said the company had emailed them about a system outage.

Evercar started offering rentals to on-demand drivers a year ago in Los Angeles, and expanded to San Francisco and Oakland in August. In the Bay Area, it rented Toyota Priuses for a flat $8 per hour. Rates were slightly lower in LA, where electric vehicles were also available. Evercar grew out of Vision Fleet, a 3-year-old company that managed electric and hybrid vehicles for municipal fleets. It had $6.2 million in funding, including $5 million raised a year ago.

Evercar’s model called for financing the cars through a third party, as buying them would be too expensive, according to CEO Michael Brylawski in August. He said Evercar’s cars were used around the clock, and predicted that it would expand to a dozen cities over the next year and become cash-flow positive by late 2017.

Both Uber and Lyft offer their own flexible leasing programs for drivers in partnership with rental companies and car makers, although none provide hourly rates.

“Companies like Evercar face a lot of challenges because their rental costs to drivers are about the same if not higher than renting directly through Uber or Lyft and they don’t have anywhere near the same brand recognition,” said Harry Campbell, who runs The Rideshare Guy blog and podcast. “Uber and Lyft also have an inherent advantage in the vehicle space since they’re already spending so much money recruiting new drivers, the vehicle program is a natural […]

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