Bolt secures €126M for Bolt Drive expansion

Jun 1, 2023

We’ve entered into a €126 million leasing framework agreement with Swedbank and Luminor to expand Bolt Drive car-sharing in the Baltics.

This investment is an essential milestone in our aim to nudge people from using private cars to safer and more sustainable shared mobility.

Read on to learn why shared mobility is the new black and how it may solve issues cities face related to car dependency, road congestion, and pollution.

A quick Bolt Drive recap

Bolt Drive is a car-sharing service that lets riders rent a car immediately through the Bolt app. This convenient option gives drivers the benefits of owning a car without the hassle.

Since its launch in Estonia in 2021, Bolt Drive has been rolled out to other European cities, including Riga, Jurmala, Vilnius, and Berlin. And now, with funding from Swedbank and Luminor, we’ll be able to bring on-demand car rental to more cities across the Baltics.

Why invest in Bolt Drive’s expansion?

With Swedbank providing €80 million and Luminor €46.2 million, these banks are confident the investment will add to their sustainability and business goals in helping make cities more people-centric.

Eero Treumann, Head of Corporate Banking at Swedbank, says, “We are used to seeing Bolt Drive cars on the streets of Tallinn, but it’s still a novel business model on a wider scale. In the future, it can be a part of the solution to save cities from car dependency”.

Indrek Julge, Head of Corporate Banking at Luminor Estonia, also claims that Luminor is “Happy to be a part of the process that changes people’s attitudes about moving around the city and using cars. 

Additionally, we’re helping to diminish the ecological footprint since Bolt Drive cars are new and therefore more sustainable, and their wide availability will motivate an increasing number of people to give up private cars.”

We cannot agree more with the above points and will now look at how car-sharing is a sustainable alternative to private car ownership. 

How are shared cars more sustainable than private ones?

In general, private cars are major polluters. According to a report from the European Environment Agency, in 2020, transport was responsible for over a quarter of the EU’s total CO2 emissions. 

Passenger transport is primarily dominated by private cars. It’s the only sector where greenhouse gas emissions have increased in the past 3 decades, rising 33.5% between 1990 and 2019.

With shared vehicles, though, we can increase the average car occupancy rate (1.6% people per car in Europe), reducing road congestion and CO2 emissions.

What about safety?

Bolt Drive is a safer mode of transport than personal cars. Here’s why:

  • Bolt Drive cars are brand new and, at most, 2 years old. Comparing this to the average age of a personal vehicle in Estonia (16.7 years) and Europe (11.8 years), it’s clear that passive safety (passenger protection), as well as active safety measures (ABS braking or accident warning systems), are significantly better in newer vehicles.
  • Our team monitors Bolt Drive vehicles and reaches out to customers when they’re speeding or driving recklessly.
  • Reckless drivers are banned from Bolt Drive, either temporarily or permanently, to ensure vehicles aren’t driven illegally.
  • We carefully vet drivers and Bolt Drive is strictly reserved for seasoned drivers with a minimum of 1 to 2 year’s driving experience (depending on the country and car model).

With the environmental and safety benefits of car-sharing, it’s no surprise that more and more people are giving up personal vehicles for the flexibility of shared mobility. And our users are no exception.

Bolt Drive is a viable alternative to car ownership

In December 2022, we surveyed Bolt Drive users in Tallinn, Estonia, to find out whether they saw car-sharing as an alternative to personal cars. The survey showed users’ readiness to give up their cars for good.

While a third of respondents who own a car admitted already using their car less often than before the introduction of Bolt Drive, 21% of respondents with several cars in their household plan to sell at least 1.

Similarly, 63% of people who had sold their cars in the last 12 months revealed that Bolt’s car-sharing service played an important role in this decision. In addition, over half of respondents who didn’t own a car weren’t planning to buy one.

Switching to shared mobility

Shared mobility is a catalyst for behavioural change. 

Once people see how affordable and convenient it can be, they’re willing to use such options regularly and even give up their personal cars.

If you, too, are ready for change and want to contribute to making your city cleaner and tidier, then opt for a more sustainable option the next time you need to go somewhere!

Bolt Drive

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