Ekar launches contactless peer-to-peer carshare in Saudi Arabia
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Ekar launches contactless peer-to-peer carshare in Saudi Arabia

Ekar launches contactless peer-to-peer carshare in Saudi Arabia

The company’s digital peer-to-peer solution eliminates the requirement for the host and the renter to meet in person

Divsha Bhat

Ekar, the Middle East’s mobility company, has launched peer-to-peer carsharing in Saudi Arabia. Saudi ‘hosts’ may now earn money by renting out their vehicles on the ekar platform while they are not in use.

Vehicles that have already been examined and fitted with a telematics device or ‘health tracker’ by the company’s operations staff can be enabled on the app. Members of ekar may then use the app to book, unlock, and pay for the rental of their vehicles.

The company’s digital peer-to-peer solution is contactless and eliminates the requirement for the host and renter to meet in person. The car keys are safely secured in an otherwise immobilised vehicle and can only be unlocked and driven through the app’s direct interface with the vehicle’s onboard computer. Cars are locked, completely immobilised, and will not start without the app’s verification, preventing any unauthorised entry or theft.

ekar’s AI capabilities constantly track and analyse data, including location, time, driver information, driver behaviour and scoring, and vehicle identification. Cars are also fully insured should damages occur during or between rentals.

Meanwhile, there are two distinct peer-to-peer hosting options: short-term and long-term. Short-term hosts commit cars for a minimum of eight hours, eight days a month from their location of choice, typically outside of a home or office. Bookings can only be terminated in a system-generated geofenced area around which the car was initially activated. This system is a station-based rental, which benefits the host who will want convenient access to their vehicle once completed with its booking. However, the renter will incur penalties for a car driven for longer than the allotted host’s booking time. The average break-even for a vehicle to pay for its monthly cost is nine rentals.

Long-term hosts, or ‘ekar entrepreneurs’, dedicate their vehicles for a minimum of one month to Riyadh’s ekar free-floating carsharing system. These committed cars can enjoy returns as high as SAR10,000 per month, depending upon the car type and hosting duration. In addition, all hosts have remote access to ekar mobility OS, which will provide them with their cars’ instant performance and earnings metrics.

“Ride-hailing companies did an excellent job introducing the gig economy to car owners, allowing them to become chauffeurs and make additional income. ekar hosts, on the other hand, can inject their cars into ekar’s platform from the comfort of their couch, and we handle the rest. A car owner can now spend their valuable time on other activities, rather than chauffeuring, and enjoy high yielding passive income on assets they already own,” explained Vilhelm Hedberg, founder of ekar.

Ekar’s peer-to-peer service targets the more than two million Saudi-owned cars that fall within the peer-to-peer regulation in the kingdom, namely vehicles that are less than five years old, wholly owned, and fully insured. This massive addressable market of cars will enrich the breadth of vehicle choice, and ekar carshare members can now access an almost endless fleet of vehicles from economy to luxury,” added Hedberg.

Read: UAE car-sharing platform ekar expands to Malaysia

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