The Shared Journey: ELOOP Transforming the Carsharing Game!

The Shared Journey: ELOOP Transforming the Carsharing Game!

Exclusive insights from Nico Prugger, co-founder of ELOOP, on how he and his team launched their unique carsharing service with Teslas and became a leading mobility player in Vienna.

 

For this new edition of the Shared Journey, Nico delves into how he and the ELOOP team created a pioneering carsharing service, moving towards infleeting more and more Teslas to provide a premium-user experience. In addition to this, ELOOP has strategically tokenized a part of their fleet, allowing drivers owning tokens to receive revenue. Thus, the electric cars are shared, and the revenues are shared, a first within the shared mobility world. Get ready to find out how ELOOP exponentially grew their service in a short amount of time from an "outside the box" idea!

 

Tell us more about yourself and what motivated you to work in the mobility industry?

During my studies, I did a semester abroad in Stellenbosch in South Africa with Leroy (co-founder). It was interesting to see that every student there shared a car with other students, but nothing to do with technology. There was no public transport, so a car was essential to get to where you needed to go. Seeing these students sharing a private car with other people ultimately inspired our concept behind ELOOP.1st

So we started to think about our own city, Vienna. In terms of carsharing, there was Car2Go and DriveNow, and they offer rentals per minute. Everyone uses public transport and bicycles in Vienna because you get around much faster with this than with a car in the city, so we started to think outside of the box and thought it would be nice to have a more sustainable electric option on a daily or more hourly rental basis. 

When we came back from South Africa, we decided to begin this little project of ours whilst balancing our studies. We spoke with some local authorities and came up with a plan, and after about six months, we became so passionate about this concept that we began searching for a company that could help us with this project.

 

Tell us about ELOOP: what makes it unique, and how does it fit within Vienna’s mobility ecosystem? 

What makes us unique is the fact that our fleet is 100% electric, and we provide our users a premium experience with Teslas. But in my opinion, everyone will be driving electric in the future. 

The battery life of the larger cars is also a bonus, and the Tesla brand itself is an advantage because it's everywhere in the news. Some people either love it or hate it, but everyone is talking about it. Everyone wants to try a Tesla at least once in their life.

In terms of choosing Vienna, we chose the city because Leroy and I were studying here, and Elias and Frederic (co-founders) were living here. It didn’t make sense to hit the ground running with ELOOP in a different city than the one we were already living in. It was a great city, to begin with, because there was only Car2Go and DriveNow, and BMW and Daimler, two larger ones.  On top of this, daily rental did not exist here. Even now, we're the only operator in Vienna which focuses on more hours or one or two days.

 

Would you like to share a few ELOOP key numbers?

Yes, so for now, we currently have 15,000 registered users. We actually achieved two-thirds of this number in the last two months, which is a huge feat for us. Since we are offering Teslas and expanding the fleet, the number of users is going up very quickly. 

 

With ELOOP ONE TOKEN, you are the first genuine shared mobility service, where you not only share your cars, but you also share the revenues. Where & how did you get that idea?

To first explain ELOOP ONE TOKEN (EOT), it is a different approach to carsharing. We share our electric cars, but we also share the revenue. However, we needed to tokenize our fleet for this to happen. So when the shared cars generate revenues, these are divided among the token holders, which means everyone can essentially become a part of the value chain; every time a car is rented, the token holder receives their amount. 

We had the idea in our very first business plan three or four years ago. Our CTO, Frederic Nachbauer, was in blockchain when Bitcoin emerged. He was super interested in the topic and actually introduced us to it. We wanted to have thousands of people virtually owning the cars whilst also using them. It took about one year after we initially started until we could officially launch it.

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These crypto coins are not utility tokens - like many others - but are actually security tokens. There are only a handful of security tokens worldwide, and most are only in real estate. When they are applied to shared mobility, that's when these security tokens can be a bit challenging because it's not a fixed amount and can change each month based on the number of trips performed, so you can never predict what it will be.

As of now, we have sold 665,000 tokens from three sales. In the future, we want to have constant sales, where everyone can buy a token when they visit our page, and of course, we want the system to continue to grow. At the moment, it’s in the beta version, but if everything goes well, we want to develop it further.

We were very fortunate to receive financial aid from the city of Vienna, which allowed us to develop our EOT. We presented ELOOP and our concept to the innovation aid of the city as they choose the project they believe will have the most possibilities to grow. 

The great thing about our EOT, is that it encourages people to be more committed as they are more invested. We can see that the token holders are the most dedicated to our brand. They will never drive with another competitor because they want the freedom to drive their “own” car. They also treat the cars way better than other customers do; they clean them and charge them often. They want the cars to look pristine because they know they will receive more revenue from their token.

For us, carsharing is not just a company that rents cars. We want our customers to be involved in the entire ecosystem. With our EOT system, they receive an amount of the revenue generated by the tokenized cars, and that’s when it becomes actual carsharing - when people share the cars and also the revenue. 

Want to learn more about ELOOP's Token? Check out EOT's website

 

You have a very diverse fleet with 4 different models, all EVs: which use cases & customers are you targeting?

We are targeting a lot of people because it’s the use case of the private car. The majority are those who can’t afford to have a car or can but believe they don’t need one. In our opinion, everyone who owns a private car should use a shared one.

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We are also targeting more and more women to continue to diversify our customer portfolio, which is going extremely well.

Public transport is great in Vienna, so we use it a lot. But when you want to get out of the city or go hiking or skiing, it is sometimes hard to go by train. That’s when ELOOP steps in, and people can choose one of our cars. However, our non-Tesla cars don’t have enough battery life for this use case, so we chose to add the brand to our fleet and take advantage of their benefits. As many know, a Tesla has an amazing battery life and can charge in only 20 minutes.

 

How does the AiMA platform fit into your plans for now and in the future?

We started our relationship with Vulog very early, in 2017. We were still in the process of raising money, so needless to say, it definitely took some time to launch the service (which was halfway through 2019).

In the beginning, we were comparing our options. There were some tech providers here in Austria, with a product very customizable but not very efficient. We wanted to have an excellent product, but we also wanted it to feel very premium for the end-user. It didn’t make sense to do this on our own because we knew how much time it would take and how expensive it would be. We had the innovative idea; we just needed some support to get it up and running.



You are currently infleeting more and more Teslas. Are you planning to reposition your service to a more premium/ high-end carsharing service? 

That’s the interesting thing when you have more expensive cars - the offer suddenly becomes a bit more premium. We just started doing this, and the cars are much more profitable than the other ones. We won’t offer super expensive cars, but for the moment, the Tesla Model 3 is a great car that won’t break the bank.

We are also trying other models to see how they work, whether the technology is different and if people like it better. In the future, we’ll maybe try the Model Y. They are a bit bigger, and you can definitely transport more in them. But we’re not going to rely on one brand; if other electric cars are getting developed and produced that people get excited by, we could try them as well. But for the moment, it’s hard to beat this brand. 

 

Is the B2B segment a potential development you are considering?

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Yes, of course, we are very interested in the B2B segment. It’s actually readily available to us; we just need to give the green light when we can fully implement it. But for now, we need to tackle some other tasks. We already have some small companies using private accounts because they don’t need a different invoice. There are more and more companies using it, but we want to target even bigger ones. For us to do this, at some point we’ll add the possibility of a business account alongside a private account. We already have companies waiting for it. 

We won’t create a dedicated fleet, but they can access the cars whenever they want, with specific invoicing. It will be super easy for them to use our entire fleet.   

 

How about multi-city? Multi-service? 

In terms of multi-city, yes, we’re going to expand to Munich this year with another free-floating service which is very exciting.

For multi-service, having instant access and scheduled booking within the same customer app is a great option. Many people are asking us if they can rent a car for 2 weeks or a month, which we are currently doing, but not through the app; they just come to us and get the car for one month. It would be nice if the service team didn’t have to worry about the car when it’s elsewhere for a month, so once it returns, they can put it directly back into the free-floating service. This would be a great solution, and we would save a lot of time, so we will try Vulog's new app as soon as it’s available.

 

What does the future for ELOOP look like?

We are going to expand to Munich this year with Teslas. If we manage the expansion well, we want to reach more cities in the next few years. The huge goal would be to be in every big city in Europe, but for now, we will expand to cities close to us and that are German-speaking. However, a third or a fourth city next year is very realistic.

In terms of fleet size, we hope to expand the numbers of cars in Vienna by the end of the year. We want to add 200-250 cars to have 300-400 cars entirely for us in 2021.

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Want to learn more? Check out ELOOP's website

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