Green driving in Sofia: ‘Spark’ rents out electric vehicles per minute

Written by on October 31, 2017 in Business - Comments Off on Green driving in Sofia: ‘Spark’ rents out electric vehicles per minute

Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, has a new car rental. Usually, this would not really be news, but things are very different in this case: The cars for rent are 100 percent electric and they can be rented through apps only. Also, the vehicles do not have fixed parking locations, and they can be opened without key.

The Spark electric car rental is a joint venture of eMobility International and the Latvian company Spark, while Porsche in Sofia provides the cars. The service they offer is attractive in several ways.

Spark uses the Volkswagen e-up! exclusively, a small, but fully electric model with a range of up to 160 kilometres, once it is fully charged. Whoever wants to rent one of them needs an app, either for Android or for iPhone.

After a customer placed a reservation, the Spark app will tell him or her where exactly the vehicle is located. They are usually parked in Sofia’s paid parking zones, or around business centres, such as the Business Park. The app also serves as they key to the car.

Customers need a debit or credit card as well as a valid driving license. They might have to charge the vehicle, free of charge, at one of several loading stations around the city. But, in most cases, they will just be able to drive from A to B to C, and back.

Electric cars like the Volkswagen e-up! are easy to drive, much like conventional vehicles with automatic transmissions, except they are much quieter and they do not have gears. Spark says, instructions can be found in all vehicles they rent out.

The price for renting one of Spark’s vehicles depends on how many minutes they are being rented for. There is a starting fee of 3.48 leva. That amount covers the first twelve minutes. From the thirteenth minute, customers pay 0.29 leva per minute. There is also a day rate in the amount of 57 leva.

Spark wants to attract businesses as well. The company’s Executive Director Stefan Spassov told the Bulgarian-language publication Investor, the service was “an ideal cost management tool for companies who want to provide a service car to their employees without maintaining a fleet and investing in their own cars.”

There are two things Spark customers should never do: They are not allowed to violate the Bulgarian Road Traffic Act, or to park any electric car in an inappropriate location. If they do the latter, they will not be able to end the rental session in the mobile application, which means they will have to keep on paying or park the car properly.

Photos by Spark




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