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Monday, April 27, 2015

Zoomcar selfdrive cars launched in Chennai

Zoomcar has launched operations in Chennai and Mumbai besides existing 3 cities of Bengaluru, Pune and Delhi NCR. 
Zoomcars in Chennai.. probably first pic of these cars in Chennai & Zoom's Chennai launch
At present cars are available in 3 locations in Chennai-
2 on OMR- Tek Meadows,Sholinganallur and Tek Towers in Thoraipakkam (again on OMR), both are IT campus owned by Ratthas. Third location is in PorurZoomcar is beginning with Figo, Scorpio S4 and XUV500 W6 in SholinganallurEcosport, Scorpio and XUV500 in Tek towers, City, Amaze, XUV500 and Scorpio in Porur. The OMR locations are well connected by bus, so you won’t have to spend on Auto or taxi to reach these spots. But some effort is still required to reach here from airport/bus stand/railway station. I guess around 15-20 cars have been added at present, more location and more cars could be added as demand picks up.

All the cars seem to have Karnataka registration- same tactic carzonrent used for most of its cars. Either the process is simpler that way or is cheaper, than registering black n yellow self-drive cars in TN. Probably some of these cars were driven this Sunday from Blr to Chennai by customers who paid Rs 1100 to do so.

Unlike Bengaluru locations which were hotels or malls or residence complex which were open to public, two of the three Chennai locations of Zoomcar are IT parks, where non employees will need visitor pass to enter. I don’t know if Zoomcar customers have been given some exemption by building management or visitors are expected to get visitor pass or if Zoomcar staff will drive it outside the campus and hand over. Also these two spots are located inside the Toll road, so each entry & exit will cost some more money, unless Zoom manages to get pass for their cars from Toll operator.

(Update: Zoomcar team has communicated that visitors need to identify themselves as Zoomcar customers with security and they will be escorted to pickup area, no need for complex visitor pass process)

As per Zoom’s facebook page, some Mercs are likely to be added to Chennai and Mumbai fleet soon.

Zoom announced a 30% discount to first customers, but I couldn’t use that code to book, probably because I am an existing Blr customer and do not qualify as ‘First customer’.

Zoom’s competitor Carzonrent has 2 locations- Chitilapakkam near GST road,Chromepet and at Chennai airport, with FigoEtios, Vento, SwiftInnova, C Class . As of now Carzonrent hasn’t done any price cut to rival Zoom. (Carzonrent has started charging extra for weekends, just like Zoom). Check this post to compare the two self drive majors

There are a few other private players in Chennai offering white board cars as self drive... Need to see how they will react to this organized and legal way of new competitor.
If you thought Chennai doesn’t have enough weekend destinations to visit, check this post of mine. I’ve listed almost all available ones. A trip to Pondy, which is most common outing Chennai folks take, will cross Zoomcar’s the per day km limit of 240kms. A round trip to Pondy will be around 300kms, so another Rs 900-1000 will have to be paid extra (at about Rs 15/km for most of the cars). On the other hand, if you’re just going till Mahabalipuram and coming back, you’d have used only half the daily allotted kms. In that case, book for 12-15 hours, say from 6AM to 6PM or 9 PM.

If you’re coming in from outside, Porur will be closer destination from CMBT.

For the benefit of Chennai folks who are not familiar with Zoomcar, here's how it works:
  • Zoomcar rents cars on hourly & daily basis
  • You can sign up using this link
  • Rentals range from about Rs 2000 a day for Figo (weekday) and goes all the way up to 6000+ Rs a day for Merc, Weekend rentals cost slightly more
  • You can rent the car, drive around as you wish and return the car on time.
  • Rs 5000 security deposit is payable for each booking, will be refunded later. This is your max liability in case of accidents.
  • Rental includes 10km per hour or 240 kms a day worth fuel. Beyond this limit, per km charge (Rs 12-15) is payable, no need to pay for fuel separately
  • Min 4 hours for hourly booking
  • A speed limit of 125kmph applies, interstate tourist vehicle permit should be bought.
  • No credit card needed. Valid driving license should be uploaded into your profile.
  • For time to time offers and other details, terms and conditions etc check their sites.
  • Zoomcar's model is slightly different from that of Carzonrent Myles. Comparison is detailed here
Above information is sourced unofficially by referring to Zoomcar App, their facebook updates and other sources. Best wishes to Zoom and let us see of people of Chennai embrace Zoom and self drive in general.

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