Renting Electric: How nextmove Is Making EVs Accessible

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Have you ever wanted to test out an electric vehicle – and by ‘test out’ I mean really get to know and experience a vehicle for more than just an hour or two – but can’t find a way to do so? Stefan Moeller, Managing Director and co-founder of nextmove, believes that this needs to change and is offering a solution.

nextmove is Germany’s leading electric car rental company, offering more than 250 electric vehicles, including more than 40 Teslas, for rental. It makes new and exciting models available to customers, providing an opportunity to familiarize yourself with the latest technology on the market. Whether looking to test-drive an EV, check out a specific model, get advised on e-mobility, or learn about the latest innovations available today, nextmove provides a range of possibilities when it comes to familiarizing oneself with electric vehicles.

Renting EVs is currently somewhat of a niche market, but it’s growing as the desire to transition to renewables becomes stronger, and electric vehicles become more mainstream in the coming years. Today nextmove is active in eight German cities, with plans to not only expand the size of its fleet but to also branch out into other areas of e-mobility. In our interview, we discuss the future of nextmove with Stefan Moeller to find out how the company is paving the way forward with a passion for EVs and what he sees for the future.

Stefan Moeller, Managing Director nextmove

Tell us a little bit about nextmove. What inspired its conception?

I got into electric cars about 6 years ago. Like many owners of EVs I want to encourage other people to try out electric cars. But it is not easy to try out EVs for a longer period. First of all only few car dealers are determined to actively sell EVs. Second, if available at all, test drives are only possible for a few hours, seldom overnight. But this for most people is not enough to tell if an EV is the right choice. The problem with traditional car rental companies is that they also do not offer a broad selection of EVs. We have founded nextmove, because there was and still is a clearly unsatisfied customer need for extended EV test rides.

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Why you are personally so passionate about e-mobility?

Fighting climate change and starting with reducing my own carbon footprint is very important for me. I started my own private energy transition by installing a PV system on my private house in 2008. The first electric car followed in 2012. Driving on sunshine is a great feeling. Renewables are on the rise. Right now 38% of the German electricity mix is coming from renewable sources. The energy transition and also the decarbonization of individual traffic is one of the important tasks of our time. Like many in the EV community, we clearly want to accelerate this transition.

How many cars do you currently offer? Do you have plans to expand?

nextmove was founded about 3 years ago. Today, nextmove is Germany’s leading electric car rental company and offers electric vehicles in eight German cities. The fleet covers over 250 electric vehicles and is regularly extended by the most exciting market novelties. With over 40 Tesla, nextmove is the largest Tesla rental company in Germany and also one of the largest in Europe. The fleet covers the following models:

Tesla Model S, Tesla Model 3 (three imported Tesla Model 3 from the US), Tesla Model X, Nissan Leaf II, Opel Ampera-E, Hyundai IONIQ, VW e-Golf, BMW i3 & i3s, Renault Zoe, Smart EQ, Jaguar I-PACE (starting October), Nissan e-NV200 (commercial vehicle), Renault Kangoo (commercial vehicle)

Looking at our pipeline of already ordered cars, like the Tesla Model 3, Audi e-tron, Hyundai Kona, Sion from Sono Motors, e-Go Life, and cars that will come to the market next year, we will offer around 350 to 400 cars by the end of next year.

What has the public response been like?

Many people out there still believe that e-mobility has too many technical disadvantages and limitations and will not break through. That’s why a lot of people have doubts with regards to our mission and business model.

We are aware that we serve a niche market right now. We clearly concentrate on the people that either already know that emobility is the way going forward or that want to find out the practicability of EV by themselves. Within that group the response is overwhelmingly positive. We offer exactly the kind of cars that people are interested in and that they at least right now can’t get somewhere else for extended time periods.

What are your users commonly looking for with nextmove? Are they looking to rent, to test electric cars for the first time, to be advised on e-mobility?

Besides the pure rental of EVs, the company also advises on all issues regarding purchasing, charging and driving electric cars. Additionally, like all other rental companies, we regularly sell EVs from our fleet to make room for newer vehicles.

Our customers can try out and compare various models from the fleet and thereby find their own dream car or come to their own opinion on the car.

About one third of our customers are already driving electric cars and simply want to experience other or newer models. Many of them are passionate about EVs and simply want to experience the latest cars for themselves.

About two thirds have never driven an EV before and are interested in the technology. They have, of course, many questions and we are happy to answer them. As part of the rental process, know-how on the important aspects of electric driving and charging is transferred. Many of our customers afterwards decide to buy an EV – in many cases not the one they originally had in mind. Given the long lead times for a new car, flexible long-term rental is also a cost-effective solution for customers who wait for delivery of their new vehicle. Those who no longer want to wait over a year for a new car can buy the rental car straight from nextmove.

Besides individuals, we also rent to commercial customers, since also companies want to compare and test different models before they invest. At nextmove they found a one-stop-shop and do not have to engage with different car dealers to get short test rides.

On our YouTube channel we provide test and know-how to everybody who is interested in emobility. Every Friday we broadcast from our studio on the latest developments from the emobility world and publish tests with the cars that are of high interest to the community.

How have you acquired funding and how much do you have to date?

We have strong shareholders who have been committed to sustainable energy for 20 years and since 2015 also to sustainable mobility. The growth of our fleet and presence is financed for the coming years.

What have been some obstacles you’ve encountered so far?

Finding the right people for growing our company has one of the biggest obstacles. A passion for EVs and a deep understanding about the different electric vehicles is necessary to consult our customers.

Another obstacle to our growth is that all car manufacturers are basically sold out with long lead times, 12 to 15 months are common for most models. Connected to this obstacle is a third problem. In order to be able to offer the cars from the beginning, we have to purchase cars very early based on specifications without real world tests. Looking at the market novelties you will always find some unexpected surprises with regards to consumption, range or charging behavior. But that is exactly the kind of risk minimization we offer for our customers. They can test drive every model and see what fits best for them.

What is your vision for the future of nextmove? For the future of e-mobility?

We believe that EVs will definitely break through within the next 10 years – meaning that if anyone buys a new car, it will be definitely an electric car. Our mission is to speed up this process.

For us it is clear that our current business model is based on the fact that many customers are unsure about e-mobility. This need for education and information will decrease in the coming years. Also traditional car rental companies will offer EVs once they become more popular and less consulting intense.

We are right now Germany’s leading electric car rental company. Based from this position we aim to expand into other areas of the e-mobility ecosystem. We are already working on solutions ranging from financing, to car sharing for fleets and smart navigation applications.

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Erika Clugston

Erika is a writer and artist based in Berlin. She is passionate about sharing stories of climate change and cleantech initiatives worldwide. Whether it’s transforming the fashion, food, or engineering industries, there’s an opportunity and responsibility for us all to do better. In addition to contributing to CleanTechnica, Erika is the Web and Social Media Editor at LOLA Magazine and writes regularly about art and culture.

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