South Korean car sharing service Socar has officially launched its operations here in Malaysia. The app based system brings with it a relatively new form of short term car rentals; allowing Malaysians to hire vehicles to drive themselves around for anywhere between an hour to a whole week.
Renting a car is as easy as placing the booking through the app, and selecting the location from which you want to pick it up. Customers can then pick up the car from the designated parking station; and return it to the same place when they are done.
What is especially interesting is that the cars are locked through the Socar app. Removing the need to pick up and return keys from a particular person. The app also controls the emergency lights and car horn; as part of secure system to help the customer find the car in a parking lot.
At the moment, Socar has 240 vehicles operating in Kuala Lumpur and Cyberjaya. About 30% of these are the Perodua Axia, another 30% are Honda City models, and the remaining 40% are a mix of Honda HRV and Mini Coopers. Prices start from RM8 per hour for the Perodua Axia, and go all the way up to RM25 per hour for the Mini Cooper. Rates also change during weekends.
Each rental is provided with a free 30km worth of petrol per hour, which caps at 300km per day. Drivers are supplied with a petrol card in the car, and are expected to refill the tank to at least half full when the returning the vehicle.
Socar is also offering a Door-to-Door (D2D) service, which delivers a reserved vehicle directly to the customer. This D2D service also allows the customer to designated where to return the car. That said, this incurs a delivery fee of RM5 and is only available in Bangsar and Damansara Heights.
A Stress Free Pass was also launched at the same time, allowing customers to book a car after working hours, drive it home, and then return it to the station the next morning. Which sounds like a relatively interesting idea, although it may be hampered by the limited number of vehicles currently available on the roads.
The company is planning an expansion in Subang by the end of the month, and will be adding more cars as it grows across the Klang Valley. The Socar app is available on both Android and iOS, and potential users must own a valid driver’s license to register an account.