We spent 3 days with the Virtuo app, the key to your rental car

No more queues, no more paperwork, go straight to your car. In complete autonomy, you can geolocate your car, open it and make status, all thanks to the Virtuo app.

Car rental is an experience that is often difficult for many reasons, but one of them is to pick up your car while avoiding the endless waiting at the counter, filling tons of paperwork, not very pleasant times! Virtuo has made a completely digital rental offer. It thus guarantees a fleet of autonomous Mercedes Class A and GLA cars, Tesla as well as Fiat 500X to its users. The reservation is made online, all you have to do is scan your driver’s license and unlock your car using a digital key available on the application.

The startup has completed a financing round of € 50 million led by AXA Venture Partner in 2021, Virtuo hopes to emerge as a leader in mobility in Europe with the desire to reach more than one million active users by 2025 Established in France, Belgium , Spain and the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany. For now, with a fleet of less than 5,000 cars, only 5% of their vehicles are electric, aiming to electrify half of our cars within four years and reach 100% by 2030.

Virtuo App

The app on iOS is well rated with 4.8 for almost 1 million downloads, less on Android with a rating of 3.5 is almost 600,000 downloads.

The overall experience is excellent. We rented a car in Brighton (UK) for several days. This starts with downloading the app, opening an account, scanning your driver’s license. We had a problem that some users of the app have, an email told us that the license was not scanned as it was and that nothing indicates a problem on the app as your account is in “pending validation” status. It is therefore necessary to provide a notification in the app to confirm the scan and the pressure on the parts.

The email process throughout the rental period is very good, but I’m sure for the best of the planet, the entire exchange can be in the app, and 2 summary emails for departure and return instead of the 13 sent (number that may change depending on your usage). The choice and price of the rental is according to your dates and the place we had made a comparison, Virtuo is pretty much at the forefront of a competitive budget of £ 226 for a Class A. We did not understand why the app did not set the price in €. Moreover, your profile in the app is pretty basic and deserves more customization.

Information on the deposit amount (which is correct with Virtuo – £ 300) is missing in the registration, which is taken 12 hours before your rental. This can sometimes block the rental if your bank limit is low or exceeded, especially when using multiple cards. So you need to plan ahead. This is an issue that needs to be worked on, it has always been a mistake with rental companies, this deposit which had to be covered with the insurance packages. With Virtuo, 3 possible insurance levels, the premium will depend on your rental (car, km, location), with a very correct price with Virtuo (19 GBP per day with a deductible of 0 GBP).

We talked on Twitter with their customer service, perfect for quick responses, but an in-app chat would be a plus. The FAQ in the app is very well done and answers many questions. For example, in the app, no info on cleaning the car except in the FAQ where it is well explained. Maybe visible tags on words like deposit, insurance, cleaning … would be helpful. Cleaning is an excellent point for Virtuo, their team takes care of everything, you just have to think about refueling.

On D-day, you will receive an SMS to locate the car with precise instructions for finding the car, plus a link using the innovative what3words service, all of which must be integrated into the app. To identify the car, you have the registration and badge (see picture below), which will flash when you are ready enough to open the car. Your smartphone will be your car key to open and close the car, so remember to have your smartphone charged or a backup battery to charge it throughout the rental period. Again, the app should be able to send a warning if, for example, the battery is less than 20%. Every time the car is closed with the app, you have a short sound from the horn confirming the closure, very convenient 🙂

For the return you have a check of your car to do, which is pretty basic, we had a scratch damage on the bumper, but we could not find anything to take a picture of in the declaration. It lacks a Carplay app in the car to give you info on the screen in the car during the entire rental period, which would allow you to see the miles driven, return time, fuel and recommendations during the rental. trip 🙂 It would be helpful to provide some information about the rented car, too very often one can get confused the first few hours. The content must be part of the experience, including music that is still a lot to find for startups like Virtuo …

One of the assets at start-up is to be able to park cars in almost any car park where you go on holiday 🙂 If you rent with the app, Virtuo is here 30 € on your rent.

AppScan

The Virtuo app (4.1.4) gets an AppScore of 5/5. Which is very good! AppScan Scans any iOS app in the App Store.

Xcode version
It’s a shame that the version used to compile the app is version 13.1, but we recommend using the most updated version 13.4 would have been perfect.
Technology
The app is developed native.
Size & assets
The app is not very big. 130 MB for the version we downloaded. 51% of the application consists of resources gathered in one Assets.car and 25% of the application is due to external libraries.
Minimal iOS
iOS13 minimum, this seems to be sufficient to reach a maximum of devices.
Permits (yes 6/5)
The app can ask for a dozen permissions, revealing that there is a huge wealth of interactions to be discovered using it.
Language (yes 7/5)
The app is perfectly localized and internationalized. We detect at least 5 supported languages. The permissions are correctly adapted to each language, the texts of the application as well, and in addition the application offers the luxury of offering perfect support for the majority of languages.
⚠️ It seems that there is a text missing for a translation key “profile_book_description”, for it.lproj, fr.lproj.
open source libraries
The licenses are good and overall the bookstores are of good quality. We see a few things that need to be improved / corrected.
NSLogger does not seem necessary in production,
ClusterKit does not have a very good vitality (lots of open bugs compared to star counts).
Security
There are a few small things that need to be fixed, but nothing major.
⚠️ Clean up files that probably should not be there, RISKANALYSIS.md, OTASDK.framework / OTASDK.podspec (seriously?), VirtuoUI.framework / swiftgen.yml.
⚠️ The app declares a virtuo scheme… it is a shame for security and the app implements universalLinks so this scheme could be avoided.
OS and app interactions (yes 6/5)
The app interacts with the system at multiple times: Apple Log In, Siri, In-app Payments, Universal Links. The experience within the iOS system is pretty good.
In addition, the app optimizes the experience according to the applications installed, by offering to open Google Maps, Waze, LinkedIn, Facebook, Messenger, Google Apps.
Height of luxury: We have an AppleWatch application that is starting to become rare.

The market

The cost of renting a car skyrockets with many companies unable to increase their fleet. The car rental industry was previously able to keep prices low, in part because car manufacturers produced too many vehicles.

The cost of renting a car abroad is prohibitive, with many companies charging twice or more than in previous years. The pandemic, the lack of chips, the war in Ukraine and the higher cost of buying electric cars all played a role in the increase in car rental costs in the countries. Nearly two-thirds of Avis-Budget’s airport rental business disappeared, and the company’s total turnover fell 41% year-on-year in 2020. At Europcar, turnover fell by 42% in 2020, and Hertz’s turnover fell 46% before the bankruptcy petition, although it has since become restructured. She boldly announced a $ 4.2 billion deal to buy 100,000 Tesla electric vehicles (EVs) by the end of 2022.

Peer-to-peer car sharing platforms, like Airbnb for cars, have not gotten started yet, even though cars stand still 96% of the time! Since many people can find a car within walking distance instead of at a rental park on the outskirts of the city, this is a plus. Many startups are present on the subject, such as Getaround. She struggles to get parking spaces for her cars at transportation hubs. In France, for example, it has dedicated locations near stations. Turo goes even further. Cars are delivered directly to the arrival area at airports, where the owner either meets tenants with the keys or leaves the vehicle in the airport car park, where it is unlocked via the app. Sharing platforms rely on people letting strangers drive away, which requires trust as well as effort to keep vehicles clean, full of gas and otherwise ready for renters.

Startups like Virtuo can impose themselves by being more innovative to satisfy their customers.

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