Green Commuter Launching Vanpool And Car Share Service Using Tesla Model X

11 months ago by Mark Kane 20

Green Commuter, a new player in the car sharing and vanpool services segment, enters the Los Angeles with an 100% electric fleet, consisting of the Tesla Model X.

Tesla Model X vanpooling with 7 passengers from the Green Commuter team seated comfortably.

Tesla Model X vanpooling with 7 passengers from the Green Commuter team seated comfortably.

The Model X was chosen because it’s the only all-electric vehicle currently able to seat seven, and also fills the long-range requirements for vanpool criteria at the same time. Its great appearance, comfort and performances also makes it an attractive offering for clients interested in car sharing.

Official start date for the program is scheduled for August 2.

More on the Green Commuter here.

“Green Commuter’s proprietary software will enable its fleet of all-electric seven-passenger SUVs to be used by thousands of workers to commute to and from their jobs during rush hour and offered as a car share for all Green Commuter members the rest of the time.”

“Simultaneous with its August 2nd inauguration, Green Commuter will launch an Indiegogo campaign seeking to offer its services at steeply discounted rates, so as to jump start the Green Commuter community. Packages start at $10 an hour and $150 per weekend rental.

Vanpool users will be able to lease the vehicles on a monthly basis, with total commuting costs comparable to, and, in many cases cheaper than, current vanpools that use standard vans or SUVs.  Currently there are more than 1,500 vanpools with a destination point in Los Angeles County, and there are about 3,000 vanpools across the Greater Los Angeles region.”

Green Commuter CEO Gustavo Occhiuzzo said:

“Angelenos understand traffic and care about the environment. We offer a premium all-electric vanpool option that’s affordable. Gasoline vanpool vehicles are very polluting, usually with ratings from 12 to 18 MPG in real life driving conditions, we’re the first to use only zero-emissions vehicles instead,”.

“Current vanpool commuters only use their vans between 10 to 15 hours per week, based on an average one to one-and-a-half hour commute each way for five days. That’s only 6 to 9% of the time during any given week, leaving the van unused for the remaining 91 to 94% of time. Green Commuter developed an app that enables the synergy between the vanpool and car share systems that will dramatically increase the benefits for all users and maximize the use of the vehicles.”

“Our goal is to provide a great vanpool and car share experience which is affordable, desirable and sustainable. We’re starting in Los Angeles, one of the most forward thinking cities in the country, but one that has great environmental challenges and congestion issues. Our members will experience a better commute or a great car sharing experience in one of the most exciting, advanced cars on the road — the Tesla Model X, while reducing their carbon footprint and alleviating congestion on our roads.”

Green Commuter is based at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), where it was selected to become a portfolio company in 2015. LACI President and CEO Fred Walti said:

“We’re thrilled to mark this inauguration. Green Commuter is a terrific example of an innovative social enterprise aimed at sustainable solutions for the transportation sector. We are proud to work with them and we look forward to the impact they will have on affordable green commuting in Los Angeles.”

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20 responses to "Green Commuter Launching Vanpool And Car Share Service Using Tesla Model X"

  1. ModernMarvelFan says:

    /Warning: Insensitive comments, don’t read it if you are easily offended.

    So, they decide to put the shorter Asian female in the 2nd row middle seat?

    I wonder why? Because it lacks headroom?

    I feel sorry for those who stuck in the 3rd row and 2nd row mid seat, unless you are short.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Amazingly enough, MMF, in most real-world situations where you have several adults in a small group, it’s almost inevitable that there will be one or two shorter than the rest.

      And I guess you have not participated much in packing people into a car, because sorting them out into seats by who has the longest legs (or needs the most headroom) is quite commonplace.

      To suggest otherwise is rather silly.

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        Yes, we do that all the time during lunch hours…

        But the expectation for a 3 row SUV is much higher or a $100K SUV.

        Now, look at the picture again, even the shoulder room looks tight in the 2nd row, no?

        None of them looks like a “super sized Costco shopper” either.

        I am no sure if I want to pack 7 adults into that commuter car. Most HOV access only require 3 people. Model X would be a very comfortable 4 commuter vehicle and maybe up to 6. But 7 is a bit stretch.

        A minivan would be much more comfortable for commuting. In fact, many of my local dealer shuttle vans are usually Odyssey or Sienna with 6 seat configuration.

  2. ModernMarvelFan says:

    “Packages start at $10 an hour and $150 per weekend rental.”

    Is that hour rate on top of the weekend rate?

    That is pretty steep for a day of rental if you add 8 hours per weekend day…

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      @MMF

      You left out the most alarming part:

      “…seeking to offer its services at steeply discounted rates, so as to jump start the Green Commuter community. Packages start at $10 an hour and $150 per weekend rental.”

      This is of course the problem with using only cars with an average sale price of about $100k. They’re gonna price themselves out of the market, or at least out of the market for anyone who can’t afford nosebleed-altitude prices, once the long-term prices kick in.

      The idea that thousands are gonna use this for daily commuting… well, it’s downright silly to think that they can get so many customers at the prices they’ll have to charge to make a profit. Even in the L.A. area, I question that they’ll get enough customers to stay in business.

      I’m not sure that the failure of this business is quite as inevitable as (Project) Better Place, but it seems to have the same basic problem with the company having to price itself out of the market due to very high startup costs.

      But hey, if they can make a go of it and prove me wrong, then more power to them! More sales for the Tesla Model X is always good. Even if (or when) the business fails, those cars will become available in the used car market.

  3. G2 says:

    Love to see these guys succeed, but I can’t see the economics working for carpoolers. However, I can see running execs or actors around L.A.

  4. William says:

    My Nissan Leaf is $15.00 a day with unlimited miles anywhere in the Greater Los Angeles Area. That means for $5.00 more a day I can get stuck in traffic any time I want, and I don’t have to get shoehorned into a Seven Seat SUV! The Leaf weekend driving is free, as the five day work week payment covers the 60 month car payment, dealer maintainence, tires, washes, insurance, and of course all the kWh I can beg, borrow, or stWHeel. I Can’t figure why an additional $5.00 daily premium would make the ride share seem like a better overall value proposition. Having a ride available 24/7 that is always there anytime, is worth an extra $100.00 a month. $1200.00 A Year of Freedom with limited range and and of course funky facia hood issues!

  5. flmark says:

    I can’t comment on or postulate the economics, but I sure can remember the days of sitting in the back seat of a beater car that was used for carpooling. Schenectady NY was totally a GE town a few decades ago and there were a great many reasons to carpool. When I consider that middle back seat experience and transport myself to sitting in a Model X instead (I do have one of my own), I do agree that this would be a dream for the stated application. Carpooling, at least from my perception, is something you look forward to…being finished. Sitting in a quiet Model X, you might actually enjoy that time period.

  6. speculawyer says:

    They are gonna spend too much time waiting for the Falcon wing doors to open & close and the sears move forward and back (to get in the last row.)

    1. floydboy says:

      Yeah, sure.?

      1. speculawyer says:

        Have you ever gotten in and out of the last row of seats in a Model X? It is a great car but not something that I would use for a shuttle bus. It would be perfect for a trip to Tahoe though.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          I was hoping your original comment was just sarcasm.

          Yeah sure, the extra 30 seconds or so the people in the carpool will have to wait, for the falcon wing doors to open and close five times while picking up the five passengers in the rear separately, will be a total deal-killer.

          Oh, wait… if they used a minivan with sliding doors, it would take almost exactly the same length of time to open and close the doors. Strangely enough, I haven’t seen anyone whining about the time it takes minivan rear doors to open and close.

          Having actually used a minivan with power sliding doors, I am having a hard time believing the vast majority of people would mind the extra 3-4 seconds it takes to open or close a power door.

          1. sven says:

            So you totally and conveniently ignore the time it takes for the second row seats to slowly creep forward and backwards. [Rolls eyes.]

        2. ModernMarvelFan says:

          “It would be perfect for a trip to Tahoe though.”

          There is NO WAY I would be stuck in that 3rd row seat on the way to Tahoe.

          Going to local grocery shopping? Sure. 240 miles from SF to Lake Tahoe with a SC stop? No way I am in the mid seat 2nd row or 3rd row at all…

          Those are for “torturing” people unless you are a child.

          If you are forcing me into the 3rd row, you better have the 6 seat configuration so I can at least get 1 knee somewhat tolerable fitting in the car.

  7. wavelet says:

    Predictably, the website is basically content-free.
    No mention of the details or even how it works in general terms.
    For vanpooling, min. number of people is 5… Picking up & dropping off 5 people, even if they live within a few miles of each other, takes time. How much time does that add? How does the vehicle get to the driver initially?

    Who’s responsible if the driver’s late? A passenger isn’t ready when the pickup comes?
    Do you still have to pay if you’re sick and so don’t need to commute for a week?

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Thanks for pointing out the practical obstacles to this business model, wavelet.

      Yes, the service would either require chauffeurs hired by the company — which would make it a taxi/limousine service, not a “rideshare” service — or else this will require one of the commuters to rent the car full-time, so they will have it available in the morning when they need to pick up the other passengers, and in the evening when they need to take anyone home.

      How would this be any better for the commuter than leasing a car and forming their own carpool, without needing to pay any company a monthly fee?

      Again, I’m not seeing a realistic business model here. More like wishful thinking, like (Project) Better Place.

      1. wavelet says:

        Thanks, PM-PY (I think I’ve mentioned this before — as a Doctor Dolittle fan when I was a kid, I like your nick (-: )
        I think it’s worthwhile reposting what I wrote on this on another site a year ago:
        ——–
        The “eco” radio stations here also air PSAs promoting real ride sharing…

        Thing is, it’s always mentioned vaguely, and I’ve always been puzzled that anyone expects this to be possible in any significant scope… esp. in the sprawling towns/suburbs most Americans live in.

        For ride sharing to work for job commuting, you have to:
        — live reasonably close to the other person

        — work somewhere fairly close

        — be willing to extend overall commute time for the extra pickup & dropoff (morning and afternoon)

        — have matching schedules, both in the morning and in the afternoon (usually, if you’re only doing it one way and using public transportation the other way, you could use public transportation both ways)

        — Closely coordinate with the other person. A last-minute 15min delay for the driver (say, a sick kid) may or not be a huge deal for the sharer (maybe s/he has a vital 8:30am meeting); ditto, what do you do if a late afternoon work obligation/crisis is running unexpectedly 20min late? Most tech companies here would really frown at someone leaving early in that case.

        — Trust the other person to be ready on time (whether you are the rider or driver)

        — Lose flexibility (your spouse can’t spontaneously call you to pick something up on the way)

        — Have reasonably matching tastes in internal car temps, cleanliness, (dis)organization of the space, music etc…

        For a regular commute, it might be worth it, but it’s really hard to find someone who fits the bill…
        I know a lot of people who’ve tried to do this, and very few actually managed to make it work. In all cases, it was either a close neighbor/semi-friend they knew previously, or a someone from the same workplace; at most, they managed to do it 1-2 days/week.

        No way it would work for short single trips, trying to match up total strangers. Even if you kept a huge DB of personal likes/dislikes, it would be very difficult to find a match for any specific trip, and the coordination needed would not be worth it.

        Long occasional trips are something else — I recall (real) ride sharing notice boards at university in the 1990s, for students wanting to travel between the coasts in the summer, and sharing gas/motel costs, but those are rare events.

        Additionally, Something else people forget that many people use cars not just because public transport is bad, but as a convenient full-on house extension: It contains gym bag, hobby stuff, their favorite music system etc.; people with families keep kid supplies, toys, strollers etc. Any trip that requires these (taking kids on errands, to the doctor’s etc.) can’t be easily shared.

        For trips to the airport, how do you know exactly how much trunk space the driver has for luggage, and that s/he didn’t forget to empty out the trunk beforehand?

        Also, for good or bad, many people use long driving periods time to conduct long personal or business conversations you can’t have a ridesharer listen in on.

  8. Anderlan says:

    The guy in the passenger seat in that picture has that Model X swagger.

    1. floydboy says:

      LOL! Kinda got that Captain Morgan thing going on!?

      1. speculawyer says:

        Full speed ahead, First mate!