WHITECAR: THE PERFECT RIDE, CHARGING TO THE FUTURE
ENVESTORS magazine preview
I think it would be fair to say that if you haven’t had a bad experience with a car rental giant, you’re in the lucky minority. All it takes is a quick ask around and you are bombarded with tales of being charged €1,000 for a chip in the windscreen (my own personal misfortune, it being – quelle surprise! - warm in the South of France and the air conditioning caused it to crack) to being upsold unnecessary insurance, hours of queueing or hunting for the bay numbered 379 in an airport car park after midnight…. Suffice to say, it’s not exactly an activity one would describe as enjoyable. Mark Strachan found himself in the unfortunate majority on a trip to Rome with his wife and three daughters in 2016. The online booking was lost, he had to pay the whole fee up front, again, they waited hours for a bus to take them to a different terminal only to find themselves in a terrible queue, at the end of which they were told there was no record of either booking. Most of us in that situation would stew, maybe send an angry email or file a complaint. But Mark decided to write a business plan.
‘The car rental business basically needs to grow up’, explains Mark. ‘This is the era of convenience at our fingertips – think the reliability of an Amazon delivery – and yet this industry is stuck in the past: they need to put the customer first, which, quite simply, they don’t. It shouldn’t have to be a nightmare simply trying to hire a car for a few short days – it should be enjoyable. I realised that there was a gaping hole in the market for something completely different: WHITECAR.
‘At the core of our business is a very simple principle: we want to make it ‘fun’. We rent out only Teslas, all Model S or X and all in white. This luxury car sets an industry standard for proficiency and safety, an all-electric powertrain that delivers unparalleled performance in all weather conditions, with dual motor all-wheel drive, ludicrous acceleration and the highest safety rating of any car ever tested. As Tesla only make electric cars, the design can take a different approach: they have embraced this new technology, allowing all the main features of the car to be controlled via a large touchscreen, located in the middle of the dashboard, or via the controls located on the steering wheel. Every Tesla has full self-driving hardware and is capable of a safety level substantially greater than that of a human driver – we just need the government and its legislation to catch up. Which it will.
Customer Service is our uppermost priority. The pricing is transparent – it costs £129 for the day with no hidden extras such as a second driver, VAT or insurance. We deliver the car to the home or the office and now operate out of Heathrow, Gatwick, London City Airport/Canary Wharf, Manchester, Edinburgh and Oslo; we are soon to be found at Munich, Frankfurt, Geneva, Zurich and Schiphol. A full battery has a range of 275 – 300 miles and we supply our customers with details of where to find them – it’s built into the in-car satellite navigation system - of every Tesla Supercharging point which is fast, simple and FREE! Our increasingly environmentally aware society has fuelled the rapid growth of the electric vehicle market so there are chargers practically everywhere in Europe: we supply a UMC (a universal mobile connector) that will even replenish the battery from any household socket in the UK.
We also provide a Tesla sharing scheme. If you own a Tesla and you are going abroad, you can offer it up for rental (we deal with the booking, the insurance and all of the necessary admin) and we split the revenue, 50/50. As with the whole concept of Airbnb, you can earn money by simply going away.
The company successfully raised £1,2,00,000 through a round with Crowdcube in February 2018 and from an AIM listed company; WHITECAR now has a pre-money valuation of £8.3m. ‘With so much interest from people seeking to invest in WHITECAR, we are seeking further funding through ENVESTRY as it’s still a good thing to do, even though we don’t technically need the money at the moment. These are very exciting times’.
I must confess to being one of the lucky ones: I’ve been in a WHITECAR. It’s not the most corporate way of describing a short journey in a hire car but I’m stumped for anything else: I can confirm that the experience was deeply cool, and very, very fun. Oh, and a passer-by stopped to take a photo. Brilliant!
This post was created on May 10 2018 by Juliet Brine