RoyalBrothers launch selfdrive car rental in Bengaluru (Details + Comparison vs Zoomcar & Myles)

Self drive car rental business in India got one notch more competitive with Royal Brothers introducing cars to their fleet.

Royal Brothers already have a fast growing bike rental business, across some 50 cities in India and 3 in Thailand. This means they already have a well established website, process and fleet management for bikes. Now expanding it to cars is a natural progression. From what I understand car rentals is being offered in partnership with Driven, a Hyderabad based firm that offers various high end bikes and cars on rent besides operating Driven Cafes [Details here].
So what's unique about Royal Brothers' car rental compared to a dozen other operators already into this business?
  1. Royal Brothers rental is cheaper in some scenarios than competition, at part in may cases. Refer below table. It is good to have more options.
  2. Royal Brothers fleet includes 3 Volvo models- S60, V40, V40 Cross Country and V40 R design- not available with competition (Myles has a V40)
  3. In more affordable category, Swift, Jazz, Polo and Innova are available.
  4. Only agency right now to offer Maserati Ghibli- supercar that costs close to 1.5 crores on road. If you need a super luxury car to take around or impress someone without robbing a bank, you can rent it from RB
  5. Self funded startup growing rapidly. Expect cars to be soon available in more n more cities-particularly where they already have a bike rental.
  6. Many tier 3 cities - like Coorg Bhuj etc are undeserved today w.r.t self drive car rental. If RB expands sooner with their car rental to these cities, they may be able to dominate the market there and also make it lot more convenient for tourists visiting those cities..(today if I need a self drive car in Coorg, I have to rent in Mysuru n drive 150 kms one way, if I can rent right in Coorg, I might prefer to book a bus till Coorg, rent n drive locally and return, saving overall amount)
Royal Brothers vs Zoomcar vs Myles- car rental comparison for various scenarios
#
Scenario
Royal Brothers
Zoomcar
Myles
Winner
1
Weekend long drive, 7 seater
1000 kms, Friday night to Sunday night
Innova
18810
(9500 in rent + tax (588kms limit)
+ 5000 for fuel
+  4500 in excess km charges + 810 tax on excess km charges)
Scorpio
17200 (13k for classic+4200 excess km charges
Or 18400 for classic

Hexa
Zoom XL
21350 (1200 kms)
Or  
Zoom classic @19500( 15330 for 720 kms + 4200 for excess kms) Fuel & tax included
Innova
Rent at 13000 (unlimited kms) + 2400 in 18% GST+ 5000 approx for fuel
=20400 total
Neck to neck between Zoomcar and RB,

I will chose Zoomcar XL package- extra 200kms, better speed limit, fuel cost covered, limited liability
2
Weekday short ride
4 hours, small car, 50 kms
Swift
1500 (Rent+ tax+ fuel)
Figo
580, 60 kms
Swift
800 (rent+ fuel + excess kms+ tax
Zoomcar
3
Weekday full day use, budget sedan, 250kms
Jazz (no budget sedan available right now)
3500, (2500 rent+ tax, 300kms limit + 1000 Rs fuel
Ciaz
4040
(4320 for 360 kms
Or
2040 + 2000 in excess kms)
City
Rs 3730
2600 in rent + 150 excess km +
1000 Rs fuel
Royal Brothers
4
Weekend 24 hours, ultra premium sedan, 100 kms
Volvo S60
Rs 7800 (
7200 in rent + 600 for fuel
Audi Q3
7800, fuel included, 120 kms
Volvo V40 Petrol
8100 in rental + fuel
Again neck to neck between RB and Zoom. Chose based on availability, car model n actual rent for your usage
5
Weekend moderate trip, small car, 600 kms, Saturday 5 AM till Sunday 11 PM
Swift
7270 + total (
3600 in rent+ tax
Rs 936 for excess kms +170 tax on excess kms+ 2500 fuel)
Figo
8820, 630 kms, fuel and tax included
Grand i10
9300
(6800 in rent+ tax +2500 fuel)
RB is cheapest
6
Weekend short ride, 6 hours, compact SUV, 100 kms
Jazz
2900
Ecosport
2250
(2750 @ 150 kms  Or
1500 for 50 kms + 750 in excess kms)
Ecosport
5600
(4000 rent+ tax, 600 excess kms + 500 fuel)
Zoomcar!
7
Weekday, 2 days, proper full size SUV, 600 kms
NA
(No SUV available right now, Innova/Volvo V40 closest option)
Ford Endeavor/ Fortuner 14640 for 720 kms
Isuzu MU7
14800
(8800 in rent+ tax, 2000 excess km+ tax on excess kms, 4500 fuel)
Neck to neck between Zoomcar n Myles.Chose based on availability & actual usage
8
I want to spend minimum possible time in their most expensive car
Maserati Ghibli
Weekdays, 10 hours- 36000
Audi Q3/ Merc GLA 4 hours , 20 kms Rs 860
Ford Mustang GT, 13000 for 4 hours, 40 kms, weekday

9
Operating hours
9 am to 8.30 PM
Midnight to 11.30 PM
6AM to 11 PM
Zoomcar
10
Accident liability
Up to 25% of value of cars, 1.5 lakhs to 40 lakhs
INR 10000

Zero in case of accidents/major damages, minor damages will be charged
Check respective sites for specific details
11
Speed limit
100kmph
120
120

12
Fuel
Extra
Included
Extra

13
Tax
18% GST extra on all payments (rent + excess km charges + damage if any)
Included
18% GST extra on all payments (rent + excess km charges + damage if any)
Zoomcar
14
 Peak surcharge
 1.4 X +tax
10 to 16% extra over weekend rent
 Applicable

Disclaimer: Prices for quick reference only. Actual prices are subject to change over time at the sole discretion of respective companies. Please check official websites for latest price, availability and applicable terms and conditions. Fuel calculation is estimate based on expected fuel economy n fuel cost- may vary based on vehicle condition, driving style, AC usage, actual fuel cost n kms.

I've a more detailed comparison between Zoomcar vs Myles vs Revv in this post, though I need to update this post as lot has changed since I last updated it

At a high level, RB has chosen to adapt a model that Myles had earlier- fuel not included, tax separate. Now both Myles and Zoomcar have 3 different models- like 5 km/hour, 15 km per hour or 25 km per hour. With Royal Brothers it is a fixed option at about 300 kms a day fair use policy beyond which a per km charge is applied. Of course these things evolve over time.

Factors to be kept in mind while renting from Royal Brothers
Accident Liability: This is the biggest risk at this point. You're liable to an amount up to 25% of car's value in case of major accidents/damages. This means you've to be mentally and financially prepared for worst case scenario that will set you back by an amount anywhere between 1.5 lakhs (for entry level cars like Swift) to 40 lakhs (for most expensive Maserati Ghibli) while renting from Royal Brothers. This is an unnecessary risk as a customer, particularly when competition offers much less liability. As of this moment their website is not yet updated to include accident liability on cars (it talks only about bikes as of now). Customers should be promptly notified of the risk/liability during booking.

Of course not every customer will face this every day- most rentals will be incident free. Only a small percentage will end up with accidents/damage and will have to pay for it. But if you happen to be among that small percentage, you will probably regret your decision to rent with such a high liability.

This isn't something permanent- I hope Royal Brother works with some insurance companies, get bumper to bumper coverage and announce a much reduced worst case scenario liability to their customer. If that can be done, customers can book with lots more peace of mind and even I will have more confidence to rent or recommend Royal brothers to others.

Another factor right now is their operating timings- like 9 AM to 9 PM in most cities. May not impact many or can be managed with minor inconvenience, but if I've to leave on a weekend trip at 5 AM, I've to rent from previous night. At times it is not even possible, particularly if I am arriving from different city. If I start at 5 AM I can make the most of the day taking advantage of early morning hours. If I have to start at 10, half a day is effectively lost. Same for return. Again this can be fixed. My suggestion will be to operate at least once centre per city with extended timings (preferably 24x7) so that whoever wants to collect early/late can use that centre. Weekend charges are anyway higher, so it is a fair demand that customer be able to start early/return late during a weekend at least.

The car rental has only recently started. I am sure they will bridge the gaps and add more features/policy changes as more n more customers rent and give feedbacks. I wish all the best for Royal Brothers in their car rental venture.

Read my review of Maserati Ghibli here, rental experience here.  Volvo S60 review coming up, our day trip with S60 details available here.

Other relevant posts: Bike rental experience at Mangaluru * Bike rental experience at Phuket
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