Owning an EV or just paying to use it? If the answer depends on Imove, it may try to persuade you toward the second option with good arguments. The Norwegian company provides a system that allows you to change your electric car whenever you need, but you get to use them as if they belonged to you. Anyway, its main business is its platform, which Toyota used to implement its Kinto Flex service.
Gunnar Birkenfeldt, co-founder of Imove, told InsideEVs more about that.
“We consider ourselves a tech company more than a car company. Being tech savvy means that we are very focused on data driven innovation and always focusing on how to make car ownership as seamless as possible for the subscriber. For simplicity, we can divide our business in two: our own car subscription program and the robust scalable white-label platform, that can be accessed by third parties. We were fortunate to get Toyota Europe as our first client, which has opened several doors to interesting customers this summer. Not just traditional car manufacturers, but also players from other industries, such as the internet, banking, insurance, power/electricity companies etc.”
Regarding the car subscription program, Imove charges €400 monthly for the small car segment and goes up to €1,400 for the premium segment. Clients can subscribe to the EVs for a month or several.
“We have customers that have a temporary need – if they have sold their car and are waiting for a new one, for example – or that are simply uncertain what vehicle to buy. They keep the car for a month or two. The other group (about 65 percent) keeps the car for more than six months. One interesting finding is that many think they will only subscribe for a short period, but they end up keeping the subscription for a long time once they have experienced this new flexible ownership.”
The flexibility part implies that people can change their cars for bigger ones on weekends, for example, which would prevent the need to have two cars: one for everyday use and a bigger one for traveling.
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“Our service is fully digital so appointments are made online. We run a 24/7 online chat service (no robots) and the handover of vehicles equipped with virtual keys happens 100 percent hands-off, without physical contact. For vehicles without virtual keys, we have implemented robust COVID-19 routines for cleaning and disinfecting all vehicles. All swapping vehicles are also put in a 48h quarantine after disinfection, as an extra precaution.”
When it relates to the platform, Birkenfeldt explains what makes it unique.
“Our multi-tenant platform can scale from being 100 percent generic to fully customized for any individual needs. For the Kinto Flex service in Norway, we created an app and we also perform the logistics and operational services on behalf of Toyota. There is really tons of good learning and know-how in the daily interaction with the customers, which is essential for the further development of the platform. We are very focused on data and collect mobility data to understand the mobility pattern and our subscriber's behavior better. Every car is connected. Every trip is being scored based on GPS and gyro data and we shortly plan to use this data for dynamic pricing.”
The platform also allows Imove to decide whether to keep or to sell any of its vehicles.
“We have developed a dashboard for analytical insights and fact-based decisions. This gives us live monitoring of every vehicle’s financial performance in the fleet, which helps us decide when to move vehicles out of the service or add new ones in. This module alone has attracted significant interest and is a vital tool when it comes to financing and scaling the Imove service worldwide.”
Apart from Norway, Imove will expand to Sweden in autumn 2020 and a third market in Q1 2021. Birkenfeldt estimates the company’s fleet will reach 1,000 cars by the end of 2020. In 2021, he expects to have 20,000 to 30,000 EVs. We hope that increase also represents the proportion of people Imove can convince to get electric cars – even if as subscriptions.