Home News Algarve’s first 100-percent electric rent-a-car service kicks off in Albufeira

Algarve’s first 100-percent electric rent-a-car service kicks off in Albufeira

Published on 31/10/2019

The company behind the new venture is called Kwako, and is headquartered in Fontainhas, Albufeira. They are set to start publicly operating in early 2020 with a fleet of environmentally friendly small two-seater vehicles.

The new company intends to open a new market niche in the form of ecological mobility as a way to explore the Algarve. At first glance they look like a little like golf carts, but the difference is that they have all the necessary equipment and legal approval to drive on the road.

The company is a spin-off of the well-established Yellowfish Travel, one of the largest transfer operators in the Algarve region, according to Kwako sales manager Hernani Sousa, during a presentation for tourism professionals, private entities, and press last week.

“I think this is the first company to operate exclusively with electric vehicles in the Algarve. I am not aware of another car rental service of this kind. It comes from our intention to have an environmentally sustainable business” he said.

This intention, however, had to wait until it was possible to acquire a supply of sufficiently reliable and somewhat robust vehicles. “We searched far and wide, and found the BIRÒ, which is an Italian-made electric car. One of our administrators, on a recent trip, saw one and found it very practical and fun. He brought the idea back to Portugal with him and we went to visit the manufacturer on the outskirts of Venice,” explains Mr. Sousa.

“We talked to the technicians and decided to move forward.” The Kwako team saw it as a complete novelty, since the Italian manufacturer had not yet supplied cars to Portugal, let alone for a rent-a-car service.

“I don’t know if this concept exists in other European countries. We know that this vehicle is widely used in the concept of urban car sharing. That is, they are available at certain points in a city and you just have to buy a card from a store to use them. Just collect and deliver at a certain predefined points,” he adds.

Kwako explain that they will run their service in a similar way. “It’s very simple. We will rent directly to the customer. Just go to our website and make the reservation. Then you can pick up the car at our operating base in Albufeira, or have it delivered to your place of accommodation in the Algarve”, said Mr. Sousa.

The car will be delivered with the battery at 100 percent, and a useful addition is that these vehicles don’t need a special recharging point, just an ordinary 220 volt outlet. The question is whether hotels in the area will be available to accommodate guests’ energy needs if they were to use this service.

“I think so. In fact, we already have many resorts interested in partnering with us to make these vehicles available to their customers. We are thinking of several possible aspects. For example, we can allocate a fleet of cars to a hotel where they can stay permanently. Or, the reception can have access to the back office and book at the customer’s request within 24 hours and have access to checking account management”, Mr. Sousa exemplified.

The car’s battery last long enough to drive 90 kilometres, and charging takes between three to six hours. Obviously those who rent one of these cars won’t be able to go on extended road trips, but they would make for a completely fine option to explore a town, go to a restaurant, or go to the beach in a quiet and calm manner.