Evee: A Website For Renting Other People’s Teslas In Australia

Renting a Tesla electric vehicle with Evee

Evee is a website that rents out Teslas but does not own any Tesla electric cars…

Recently I rented a Tesla Model 3 through an online service called Evee.  I had a really great time just driving around, sightseeing, and engaging in criminal activity.

You can read about what I got up to in my Tesla Model 3 review here, but I thought would be useful to explain what the Evee car hire company is and how you go about using it.  I figure there are plenty of people who will want to rent an electric car to give it a go before buying one. 

Also, Evee has been bugging me to write a review of the car I rented, so it only seems fair I let this article be a review of my experience with the Evee car hire site. 

What The Hell Is Evee? 

Evee is an Australian car rental company, but rather than owning a fleet of vehicles like Avis or Hertz, they instead allow private car owners to rent out their fully electric cars.  In return for being a middleman — or middleperson — Evee gets 25% of the rental fee.  I have no capacity to judge if that amount is fair. 

Here’s what you may see if you go to their site:

Evee website

You can be certain they’re Australian because the Sydney Opera house is hiding behind the inset:

“Are the auditors gone and it’s safe to come out now? I came in at 15 times over budget, you know…”

But the background picture can change from day to day, so don’t get too attached to whatever comes up on your first visit to the Evee site. 

Evee Is Not A Pokémon

I want to make the following very clear — Evee is not a Pocket Monster. 

Unfortunately for the car rental company, an Eevee with an extra “e” is a Pocket Monster or Pokémon, as they’re known in English.  (In Japan they’re known as Pocket Monsters, so go figure.)  If you search for Evee online the Pokémon is always the first few thousand entries, so you will instead have to search for “Evee car hire” or something similar.

Signing Up For Evee

To hire a car from Evee you have to sign up to their site.  This is pretty easy, although I did require two attempts.  I thought I had signed up and told my friend, Sam1, to sign up as well and he got back to me later and said they’d accepted his license, no problem.  And I was like…

“They need your license?”

So I went back and tried to apply again and found out they definitely need a copy of your license, so I photographed mine and sent that.  I don’t know what I — or maybe they2 — did wrong the first time I tried to sign up, but if you don’t get asked for a copy of your license you will need to try again. 

Because it takes around a business day for them to validate your license, don’t leave signing up until the last minute. 

It’s Mostly Tesla Vehicles

Evee has a map you can use to see all the cars they have for rent in Australia:

I know it looks like there are cars for rent in the ocean, but if you zoom in it turns out there are no aqua-rentals. PS: Take that, New Zealand! We may have died from COVID at seven times your rate per capita, but at least we can rent electric cars!

While it doesn’t look like they have many cars available on the large scale map3, if you zoom in you can see — at least at the current moment of zooming — they have 65 cars available.  But this number is weirdly variable, so don’t be surprised if it’s different when you take a look.  

When I checked, the cars available and their percentage of the total consisted of:

Evee electric car rental listings

As you can see, they have mostly Teslas.

Tesla is, by far, the best selling EV brand in Australia, but it’s still not 89% of the electric cars on the road.  The reason why they’re over-represented could due to their range making them more suitable for rental than most.  Another factor may be Tesla owners are more likely to be on a crusade to persuade people to convert to electric cars — or on an electric jihad if you don’t like the word “crusade”.4 But I’m pretty sure it’s just because there is more demand to rent Teslas than any other brand.

The 58 Tesla cars consist of the following models:

  • 40 Tesla 3  (The lowest cost Tesla.)
  • 8 Tesla X  (Large car/SUV crossbreed with gull-wing doors.)
  • 7 Tesla S  (Large, high performance, sports car.)

Those of you who paid attention when they taught addition in school may have noticed that only totals to 55 Tesla cars and not the 58 figure I gave earlier.  That’s because the Evee site changed the numbers on me while I was counting them. 

Electric Car Rental Cost

The cheapest rental I found on the Evee site was $121 a day for a Hyundai Ioniq in Sydney.  The most expensive was $449 a day for a Canberra based Tesla S. 

The lowest cost Tesla Model 3 rental I saw was $151 a day in Hobart.  Elsewhere, you can expect to pay at least $20-60 more per day. 

When I hired a Model 3 I received 5% off the rental fee (but not insurance) for two days rental and I could have received 10% off by renting for 3 days. 

Insurance Cost

When I rented a Model 3 I had to pay $30 a day for insurance on top of the rental fee, but this amount can vary between cars that are the exact same year, model, and variant.  For example another, basically identical, Model 3 may charge $35 a day.  The lowest daily insurance charge I saw was $22 for a Hyundai Ioniq and the highest was $54 for a Model S.

Unfortunately, if you smash other peoples’ cars into things they will hold you at least partially responsible.  This table I found in Evee’s FAQ suggests it’s not a good idea to have an accident:

Evee car rental damage liability

If I had just gently bumped a tree while renting the Model 3 I could have been on the hook for a $3,000 excess.  This is more than the market value of my 2004 Hyundai Getz. 

Fees For Extra Service

The owner can charge extra fees for additional services, such as dropping off and picking up the vehicle. 

250 km Per Day

If you drive the car over the allowed maximum of 250 km per day you will be charged for excess kilometres.  The amount varies but was 60 cents per km for the Model 3 I rented.  To me, that seems to be a very profitable rate. 

If we assume a Tesla Model 3 battery dies at the end of its 160,000 km warranty limit5 and costs $10,000 in today’s money to replace, then each km driven causes 6.25 cents of wear and tear to the battery.  If we add on a few cents to pay for pricey tires and other wear and tear then each extra km may only cost the owner about 10 cents.  Even if you think that’s too optimistic and double it to 20 cents, the owner should still be coming out way ahead on these excess km fees, given the motors and brakes of electric vehicles don’t wear out the way conventional cars do.  On the other hand, it’s not yet clear just how expensive it will be to have electric cars repaired in the future. 

If you are planning to drive a long way AND the owner is savvy about the realistic costs of wear and tear, there may be room for negotiation on excess km charges.  

EV Charging

Unless you’re planning on taking a really short trip, you’ll have to charge the vehicle at some point.  A common requirement for Evee rentals is to return the car with 70% or 80% of a full charge or pay a fee for each kilowatt-hour that’s missing.  The fee is a lot more than it costs to charge from the grid.  This is similar to returning a conventional car rental without a full tank, but more annoying because if someone is trying out an electric car for the first time charging it may be a confusing experience.  

Even worse, according to Evee’s terms and conditions you can be hit with a fee for returning a car with less charge than when you picked it up unless the owner says otherwise.  This is ridiculous.  If it was at 100% when you picked it up, how are you supposed to get it back at 100%?  Push it from a charger to the drop off point?  Perhaps they expect you to drive it backwards so the battery charges instead of discharges?6

Restrictions

As with conventional car rentals, the Terms & Conditions contain a lot of fine print about where you can take the car and what you can do with it.  Some examples from Evee are:

  • No more than three separate drivers.
  • No going to Kangaroo Island, NT, WA, or Tasmania.  (But apparently, you’re allowed to start in those places.)
  • No going beyond the black stump — see terms and conditions for the exact stumps they’re referring to.
  • Stay off unsealed roads — even though the car navigation won’t hesitate to tell you to use them.
  • Do not experiment on the car.
  • Etc.

Driver Age

One important restriction is on the driver’s age.  For what they call “standard vehicles”, which includes the Model 3, all drivers must be at least 25.  For “performance vehicles” which include the Tesla S, Tesla X, and Audi e-tron, all drivers must be 30 or older.

Putting Your Electric Car Up For Rent

If you have an electric car, you can rent it through the Evee.  Their site has a calculator titled, “How much could I earn?”.

The answer to that question is simple.  You will earn zero dollars because the money collected is a rent and therefore unearned income. 

This may seem like a minor quibble, but given the world came to the brink of nuclear war on multiple occasions over the question of whether or not it’s okay for people to collect rent, I’d say it’s actually a freaking big quibble. 

Since it’s a “car rental” site and not a “pay the car itself for the labour it performs carrying you around” site, I’ll just fix that for them:

Evee electric car rental calculator

As you can see in the picture above, I put down $50,000 for the market value of the car in their calculator.  This may be a reasonable market value for the lowest cost version of a new Tesla Model 3 once the keys are handed over.  I also put in a figure of 3 days a month for rentals and underlined the word “month” in red because normal human beings would expect this to be an annual figure and not monthly.7

So, if you have a car with a market value of $50,000 and you rent it for 3 days a month, Evee says you can collect $4,320 a year.  That’s $120 for each day it’s rented.  Given the — hopefully — low costs of wear and tear on electric vehicles and their battery packs, this could be a good deal.  But whether or not it is worth it is something only the EV owner can decide.  

They Will Want A Review

If you rent a car through Evee they will want you to write a review.  My email inbox can attest to that:

Evee electric car rental review requests

I was putting it off until I had finished writing my review of the car I rented, but that probably wasn’t necessary.  All they wanted was a few brief sentences on my Model 3 car rental experience.  That didn’t require a lot of effort and here’s what I wrote:

“Owner very friendly & super helpful. Car so clean I’ve known messiahs less immaculate.  Driving the car was more fun than a barrel of monkeys due to a barrel of monkeys’ poor handling.  It was easy to accidentally speed, but also easy to intentionally outrun the police, so it all evens out.”

Actually, that’s not exactly what I wrote, but it’s the general gist. 

What they didn’t do is ask for a review of the Evee car hire company itself, so I’ll provide a few suggestions below on how they can improve.

How Evee Can Improve

In my not even remotely humble opinion, Evee needs to make its service more useful to first-time electric car users.  A good chunk of their business is likely to be people who have never driven an EV before.  Some things that would help are…

  • Clearly display the expected real-world range upon pick up.  While they do have a section on this in their FAQ, the information needs to be given upfront for each car, otherwise people will plan trips based on the manufacturer’s inflated range figures and will be pissed off when they find they can’t go that far.
  • Provide very clear and simple explanations of how cars are charged.  Just stating a car can be fast-charged means nothing to most people.  They may even think it means how fast Evee takes money from their credit card.
  • Only require cars to have 50% of maximum charge when returned.  This will makes things a lot easier for people who have never charged an electric car before. 
  • The fee for returning an electric car with under 50% charge can be stiff, but it shouldn’t be so unreasonable people will feel it’s unfair.  An excessive fee, especially if it comes as a surprise, will result in bad blood.  Most EV owners have a cheap method of charging their cars, whether is it rooftop solar or off-peak grid electricity, so there is no good reason for a massive fee.
  • Because of the low maintenance costs of electric cars, Evee should consider making their excess km charges the lowest in the car rental industry and then boast about it.  People hate feeling screwed over on these sorts of fees.  Having lower charges than the fossil fuel competition will help create a positive image and bring in customers.  This may require rental fees to be bumped up slightly, but I think people would prefer that.

Because Evee isn’t a standard car rental company with a fleet of vehicles, it’s difficult for them to standardize their approach. At the moment the owner can influence the fees, charges, and conditions.  But while it makes it harder, it can still be done. 

Evee can have a standard set of standard rental conditions for each major model of electric vehicle and owners can choose to accept it or not.  Those who go along with it get charged less by Evee, while those who decide to set their own conditions — perhaps to rake in that sweet cash from excess km charges — pay more. 

This will make things simpler for both owners and renters, so overall everyone should benefit.  Of course, some of the benefit will be sucked away if, instead of referring to it as Evee’s standard rental conditions, they give it some rubbish marketing name such as “Premium Platinum Gold-Class Low Cost Budget Luxury Exclusive Price Guarantee Global Service”.

I Don’t Recommend & I Don’t Not Recommend

When you get down to it, Evee is just a car rental company.  The fact they only rent EVs doesn’t significantly change how they operate and you need to be wary of all the usual things you’d expect when using a standard car rental company. 

I didn’t have any unexpected nasty surprises when using Evee, so I don’t feel the need to warn you about them.  Given my attitude towards car rental companies, that may count as a recommendation.  But the experience could still be better.

When I rented from Evee, the entire time I drove the car I had the fees for returning it with enough charge and for excess km in the back of my head.  So it wasn’t as relaxing an experience as it could have been.  This was much the same as for any other rental car I’ve driven, except worse because:

  • Charging is a lot more involved than going to the petrol station for people who aren’t used to EVs.
  • The vehicle was a lot more expensive than anything I’d rented before8, which added to my stress. 
  • Because I rented from someone who seemed like a really nice guy rather than a faceless rental company, I knew I’d feel really bad if I happened to wrap his car around a stobie pole

If you want to try out an electric car, I can recommend using Evee for that, provided you remain exactly as cautious as you would be with any conventional rental car company, while taking additional care not to be caught out by the electric car’s real-world range and charging requirements. 

Footnotes

  1. I just want to take a second to make it absolutely 100% clear that Sam and I are not lovers.  Phew!  I’m glad I had the foresight to stop that rumour from getting started!
  2. But let’s face it, it was probably I.
  3. For some reason their map can display the entire world.  This makes me wonder if they have big plans for expansion.
  4. While the word carries a lot of historical baggage, I’d rather people be on a crusade to convince me to go electric than on a crude persuade to encourage me to use petroleum.
  5. This is for the Model 3 Standard Range plus.  The Long Range and Performance Model 3s have a 192,000 km warranty limit.
  6. “Hello.  This is the Laws of Physics.  I’d like to point out that is you drive an electric car backwards and it appears to charge the vehicle, it probably just means I’m getting ready to make the battery explode.”
  7. Japan is full of extraordinary human beings and they tend to do things by the month, but I know this site wasn’t made in Japan, otherwise they would have been smart enough not to name it after a Pocket Monster.
  8. While I’m not rich enough to go around renting cars willy nilly, I did use to drive my Taiwanese friends around in rental cars when they came over.  Did you know the typical Taiwanese worker makes over $29,000 a year?
About Ronald Brakels

Many years ago now, Ronald Brakels was born in Toowoomba. He first rose to international prominence when his township took up a collection to send him to Japan, which was the furthest they could manage with the money they raised. He became passionately interested in environmental matters upon his return to Australia when the local Mayor met him at the airport and explained it was far too dangerous for him to return to Toowoomba on account of climate change and mutant attack goats. Ronald then moved to a property in the Adelaide Hills where he now lives with his horse, Tonto 23.

Comments

  1. Sarah Olijnyk says

    Thankyou for this comprehensive review. And it was enjoyable to read. As the mother of the owner of a Hybrid Prius I am convinced that electric vehicles should be free to everyone and NOW. As a hardened cynic I know that isn’t possible but I like the initiative taken by Evee and also am not surprised by their money greedy attitude.

    But this review satisfied all and more of my questions.

    Great!

    PS. Ronald, as a fellow Adelaide Hills resident I hope you are safe and undamaged.

    • Thanks for the kind words – the driving force behind evee is what we all would like to achieve – faster uptake of electric vehicles in Australia.

      The fees might seem high on the surface, but honestly we’re just getting off the ground now, it’s been 5 years of grinding and perseverance continuously on the verge of shutting down. But I’m convinced that we’re doing the right thing to the environment and the EV industry as a whole so we’ll carry through 🙂

  2. Taiwanese av yearly income is US $42,000 which is approx $56,000 in Oz.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      That’s average, but not typical.

      Update: I originally wrote in this comment that Australia and Taiwan had similar Gini Coefficients, but looking it up I see there is a fair bit of air between them with Australia at 0.66 and Taiwan at 0.75, making distribution of income in Taiwan significantly less equal than here.

  3. Thanks for the in-depth overview, glad we could be part of your experience of driving a Model 3. It’s incredible to see that you’ve taken the time to write about the experience in such detail. Great, fun read too 🙂

    Really appreciate the “can improve” section – this is invaluable for us to continue improving the platform. Some of those mentioned by your are already worked on and are coming in future updates.

    I hope I can clarify a few point brought up in the article:

    – We’ve been fighting the pokemon and are now starting to win… slowly.

    – Our commission is actually relatively low comparing to other car sharing platforms yet we’re the only one capable of insuring Tesla and other EVs of higher market value.

    – Damage liability, although looks high, is actually lower than for example Thrifty’s liability for a Toyota Yaris ($4,000). We’re as challenged as our customers are by the way rental insurance works. But unfortunately have to play by the rules.

    – On the excesss kms – this is primarily to protect from abusing the vehicles. We’ve had a couple of renters driving 2000km in 24 hours and that is clearly damaging to the vehicle’s value with the increased wear and tear. Average renter travels 160km/day so additional kms are actually rarely requested by the hosts. And although you’re correct that EV maintenance is lower than ICE, EVs still depreciate almost as rapidly as ICE cars (only different by a couple of percent over 4-5 years), which is directly proportionate to the vehicle’s mielage and unfortunately there is not magic (yet) to reverse this. The first 2016 Model S that evee started with was purchased for $140k and sold 4 years later for $66k. I completely agree though that we must strive to differentiate from the ICE competition. Will take “Premium Platinum Gold-Class Low Cost Budget Luxury Exclusive Price Guarantee Global Service” into consideration!

    – Returning the car with 100% charge is of course impossible, our T&Cs are overly protective in this sense, but they do say “unless otherwise agreed with the owner” to give that little bit more flexibility. Hopefully we’ll have wireless charges embedded in our roads soon so that 100% return charge becomes a reality! You can also try towing it to gain those last we kWs in.

    – Most restrictions (inlcuding age) are once again dictated by our insurer

    – Thanks for fixing the “income” section – that makes sense as owners need to deduct the costs of owning the car and providing the rental service (cleaning, registration, tyres, etc).

    – On the expanion – yes, we used to have vehicles in California with our partners in 2018. Although that didn’t take off, we have the plans to conquer the world – of course. The expansion is primarily limited by (guess what?) insurance. Unlike aribnb that can be simply a listing paltform, car rental isnurance is regulated very differently in different countries and compliance is much more stringent than for property rentals (as an example).

    Thanks again for such a thorough review, I hope the above is a helpful addition to the article.

Speak Your Mind

*

GET THE SOLARQUOTES WEEKLY NEWSLETTER
%d bloggers like this: