EVs are blowing up on Turo, showing strong organic demand for electric cars

We’ve written before about car sharing platforms being used by EV owners, particularly Tesla owners, to make a little side money with their cars.  Turo is the biggest example of this, and they’ve shared some statistics with us about their platform showing that EVs are quite popular there and gaining steam much faster than the rest of the site.

In 2018, Turo’s 11 most popular models included three EVs (all Teslas) and one conventional hybrid (Prius).  The Prius came in at 3rd place, with the Model S in 6th and the Model X and Model 3 in 10th and 11th respectively.

What seems clear from the data shared with us is that most of the top cars are “experiential” rentals.  People may be curious about an off-road vehicle, a convertible, a sportscar, or an EV, without wanting to plunge in and buy a car they aren’t so sure about yet:

While Tesla isn’t the top model or marque overall, it stands out here because they are overrepresented compared to how many of them there are out in the world.  Corollas and Camrys are two of the most popular car models in the country and have been for a long time, whereas the installed base of Teslas is much smaller.

But Teslas aren’t the only EVs doing well on Turo.   Non-Tesla EVs have also been growing rapidly.  Over the course of the last couple years, both EV supply and EV demand have outpaced growth of the rest of the site by about 50%:

And of the top 5 non-Tesla EVs, they still seem to be quite popular, averaging $400-500 earnings per month for their drivers.  The Focus EV and smart fortwo electric are interesting on here, showing exceptionally high “average days booked per month” according to the internal data Turo shared with us.  Note: the Focus and fortwo also have non-electric models, but we were told this data reflects specifically the electric drive versions:

Teslas weren’t included in this table because they take up the top 3 spots, with significantly higher average daily prices ($150-200) and average earnings (~$1,000 per month) despite lower average days rented per month (~10 days) for all models.  These numbers are higher than the last time we checked, when Tesla owners were earning an average of $923 per month on Turo:

Turo told us that this isn’t the result of a specific push on their end to encourage more EV rentals or to push EVs ahead of other vehicles, but that these things are happening on their own.  As a reaction to noticing this within their fleet, they’ve added an “EV filter” for those who only want to browse electric cars (feel free to try it out yourself).  They also plan to add a dedicated EV page at some point in the future.

Electrek’s Take

Turo obviously wanted to share this data with us to get their company’s name out there, but the details shared are still of interest to the EV world because they show strong organic demand growth for EVs.

As can be seen from Turo’s stats, there’s a lot of curiosity out there about Teslas and EVs in general, and despite we and our readers knowing a lot about these cars, the general public still has a lot to learn about EVs.  Tesla is still a relatively small company in terms of footprint (and may be getting smaller) and doesn’t advertise, and other automakers’ dealerships don’t seem to try very hard to sell EVs.  So if dealerships aren’t going to expose people to EVs, then we need some other way to get the message out.

We’ve seen for some time that EV owners want to spread the word about their cars.  EV owners, by and large, love their EVs and a vast majority of them never want to go back to driving on gas once they own an EV.  EVs do well in customer satisfaction surveys and owners often “evangelize” about them.  Tesla recognized this with its referral program, which gives a benefit to owners and new customers for these word-of-mouth sales

We here at Electrek feel the same way – we drive EVs, we love EVs, and we want others to drive them and love them too (incidentally, you can use our Tesla referral code if you’re thinking about getting a Tesla – but we love other EVs too!)

And potential car customers are clearly curious about EVs, and want a chance to experience them on their own, outside of a short test drive environment. Car share services like Turo help accomplish this goal of letting users get the word out about their cars, but also lets them make a little money on the side, while helping potential customers avoid feeling like they’re taking a plunge into the unknown.

All this EV curiosity bodes well for Tesla Network, Tesla’s planned autonomous ridesharing service which we’ll be hearing more about later today.  If car share services keep growing, then an autonomous car share service (if or when it actually happens) will certainly be a big boon for Tesla owners and for Tesla itself.

And these stats put the lie to the common refrain among EV haters that there’s “no demand” for these vehicles.  EVs are consistently outpacing boring old gas cars in demand/interest growth.  This is happening everywhere you look – in sales numbersnew model announcementsconcept cars, perceived coolness, next-purchase interest, and on car share services like Turo.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Stay up to date with the latest content by subscribing to Electrek on Google News. You’re reading Electrek— experts who break news about Tesla, electric vehicles, and green energy, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow Electrek on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our YouTube channel for the latest reviews.



Avatar for Jameson Dow Jameson Dow

Jameson has been driving electric vehicles since 2009, and has been writing about them and about clean energy for electrek.co since 2016.

You can contact him at jamie@electrek.co