Everyone has heard about Uber and Lyft, but the world of ride-hailing services includes many smaller players. Much like EV startups, there are also many local ride-hailing startups fighting to get a piece of the market.
Earth Rides is one of them, and it has a most inspiring story. The startup was founded in Nashville by a first-generation American woman who decided there was a business opportunity in new mobility.
After getting her law degree, Raven Hernandez launched Earth Rides in October 2020 with a basic principle: it was going to be an all-electric fleet designed to compete with Uber and Lyft on price, yet profitable enough to employ its drivers, not contract them.
The latter part is very important as Earth Rides has found hired drivers to be more reliable and more easily to be held accountable by their management. Furthermore, each driver goes through a rigorous three-step interview process and an FBI background check before being hired. Knowing this provides added peace of mind to the users of the service.
That said, Earth Rides is also open for drivers who own EVs, in which case they work as independent contractors.
The service started with Tesla, which Earth Rides chose for its brand equity and the long-life of the batteries, as some of the vehicles can get up to 700,000 miles (1.1 million kilometers) on one battery.
According to Hernandez, this allows the company to offer a black car experience without the black car price. For example, Earth Rides can buy used Teslas to keep its cost down and still provide all the comfort and style these EVs are known for.
One year after launch, Earth Rides’ fleet includes Tesla Model 3, Model Y, and Model X EVs, as well as Ford Mustang Mach-Es. During this time, the team has grown to 75+ staff members who have helped transport over 150,000 passengers and reduce over 100 tons of carbon, according to the company.
Earth Rides currently operates in Nashville (TN) and Austin (TX), and has plans to expand to cities such as Tampa (FL), Phoenix/Scottsdale (AZ), and Atlanta (GA) later on. Within the next five years, the company aims to expand to all major metropolitan areas in the United States and even to Latin America.