Car rental platform Turo brings Tesla-lovers together

Turo is often described as the Airbnb of car rental – it’s a peer-to-peer platform with thousands of members all over the US and a few other countries. For renters, Turo offers a far better selection of vehicles, better prices and, often, more convenience than traditional rental agencies. For vehicle owners, it offers a way to generate some revenue from their cars when they aren’t using them.

Turo is of particular interest for EV enthusiasts, especially for Teslaphiles. At the moment, the major rental agencies offer Teslas in Norway and a few California cities, usually at sky-high prices. On Turo, you can rent a Model S or X in many cities, at a reasonable price.

For car owners like Tampa resident Mark Willard, Turo can provide a way to buy the vehicle they really want. A couple of years ago, instead of playing it safe and buying a used Model S, Willard took the plunge and bought a loaded Model X. He’s been renting it out on Turo an average of five or six days per month, bringing in enough income to cover a big chunk of his car payment.

Willard told Charged that about half of his customers are renting in order to take a Tesla for an extended test drive, and about half are “ordinary” renters looking for something to drive while visiting the area (a substantial number rent the Model X for weddings, he says).

Only once has Mr. Willard ever had a problem – someone got too friendly with a curb and caused substantial tire damage – and Turo’s insurance policy paid up as advertised.

Interestingly, Mark said he feels more comfortable renting out an EV than he would a legacy vehicle, because there’s less maintenance and fewer things to go wrong. Every mile driven on a gas burner brings it closer to the next oil change and, at least with performance cars, hot-dogging drivers can burn up the clutch or the brake pads. With the Model X, Willard is confident they can put pedal to metal as much as they want without hurting anything.