ekar Brings Car-Sharing Service to Saudi Arabia

ekar, Saudi Arabia, car sharing

The UAE-based car-sharing service ekar is expanding into Saudi Arabia. 

As The National reported Monday (Dec. 27), the partnership will involve some of Saudi Arabia’s largest vehicle rental companies.  

ekar bills itself as an alternative to buying, leasing or renting a car for people who want access to a vehicle without the cost of ownership. Customers get their subscription cars delivered to their door, with the option to switch or trade or return them at anytime.  

“Ekar Saudi Arabia car-sharing experienced a spike in demand for longer-term bookings during the pandemic, especially with female drivers who choose ekar as their ‘first car solution,’” Vilhelm Hedberg, founder of the company, said. 

“Launching subscription leasing is a perfect solution for our 100,000 users in the kingdom. The marketplace is nascent in Saudi Arabia, and the combination of subscription leasing with car-sharing will make ekar the only app in the market that offers the entire vertical of self-drive from per minute car-sharing to multiple months subscriptions,” Hedberg said.

The initial phase of ekar’s subscription option, available via the company’s mobile app, will be rolled out in Riyadh, Dammam, Jeddah, Mekkah, Taif, Abha and Jaizan. 

Founded in 2016, ekar says it has more than 250,000 customers who have booked 1.6 million trips. In addition to Saudi Arabia, the company is planning to being operating in Malaysia, Turkey, Egypt and Thailand next year. 

Read more: Getaround Car-Sharing Tech Disrupts Car Ownership 

PYMNTS looked at the rise of vehicle-sharing last year in an interview with Sam Zaid, CEO of the car-sharing platform Getaround. 

“What we’ve seen over the last 10 years is people willing to move away from car ownership, to live car-free and to rely on Getaround as one of their core, reliable mobility solutions,” he said.  

“Whether it’s five or 10 years away, there will be a world where the predominant mode of using a car is a shared one, not the private-owned, exclusive use one,” Zaid added, noting the cost, waste and inefficiency of purchasing a car and keeping it parked 95% of the time.