Estonian technology company Bolt entered into leasing framework agreements for a total of €126m with Luminor and Swedbank to enable expansion of the company’s car rental service Bolt Drive. The aim of the two separate facilities is to triple Bolt Drive’s fleet size in the Baltic states and offer people better ways to move around cities.
Swedbank will provide a total facility of €80 million and Luminor of €46.2 million. The leasing framework agreements will enable Bolt Drive to enhance its fleet in the Baltic countries, which include various vehicles from small cars to SUVs and minivans. New cars will first be adopted in Tallinn, Riga, Jurmala and Vilnius.
Eero Treumann, Head of Corporate Banking at Swedbank, said that the deal with Bolt Drive combines the sustainability and business goals of Swedbank and supports the development of an innovative business model. “We’re already used to Bolt Drive cars in the streets of Tallinn, but on a wider scale, it is still a novel business model. In the future, it can be a part of the solution of saving the cities globally from the dependency of cars,“ Treumann said.
Indrek Julge, Head of Corporate Banking at Luminor Estonia, said that supporting the development and expansion of companies is one of the main focuses of Luminor. “We are happy to be a part of the process that changes people’s attitudes about moving around the city and using cars,” Julge said. “Additionally, we are helping to diminish the ecological footprint since Bolt Drive cars are new and therefore more sustainable, and their wide availability will motivate an increasing number of people to give up their private cars.”
Henriko Aer, Head of Bolt Drive in Estonia, said that there is a considerable need for expanding the size of Bolt’s fleet. “Compared to previous years, the number of rides made in Estonia has increased multiple times and this calls for additions to our fleet. Based on the Estonian example, we believe that the use of short-term car rental is on the rise in all Baltic countries. We know that 68% of Bolt Drive users see rental cars as a realistic alternative to their private car. We’re happy that the banks believe in the future of rental cars and are ready to partner with us in developing this business model,” Aer said.
According to Henriko Aer, user statistics show that on average, a rental car is used significantly more than a private car which stands idle in the parking lot ~95% of the time. Aer emphasised that Tallinn has approximately 2–3 parking spaces per car today and the rising popularity of rental cars could free up this space for parks or greenery. “People increasingly understand that it is more convenient and affordable to make their unavoidable rides with a rental car and otherwise use public transport or micromobility solutions. Owning a personal car only creates an additional burden to the city space,” he said.
Bolt Drive was launched in Tallinn in May 2021. Today, the service is also available in Riga, Jurmala and Vilnius – with a total fleet of ~2000 cars. During the two years of operations, Swedbank and Luminor have financed most of the Bolt Drive rental cars available in the Baltics today.
Bolt Drive rental prices start from €0.13 per minute. To rent a car, the driver needs to be at least 20 years old, have a B category drivers’ license and at least one year of driving experience.