This Chauffeur Says It’s A Dream To Own A Tesla

Tesla Model X

AUG 29 2018 BY EVANNEX 4

OWNING A TESLA IS A ‘CHAUFFEUR’S DREAM’

By Jimmy Magahern*

It’s 11:30 on a Thursday morning and David Lucht is recharging – both himself, with a cold brew at Press Coffee Roasters, and his 2014 Tesla Model S, which is currently hooked up to one of the 16 charging stations in the parking lot at Scottsdale Quarter. “They’ve got the superchargers here,” Lucht says, excitedly.

*This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Posted by Matt Pressman. The opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily our own at InsideEVs.

Above: David Lucht launched Scottsdale Chauffeur Services with his late twin, Douglas, in 2001 (Photo by Kimberly Carrillo / Scottsdale Airpark News)

As the owner of Scottsdale Chauffeur Services as well as its primary driver, Lucht has learned where all of the electric vehicle charging stations are throughout the Valley – and the Quarter has among the most, with four universal Volta chargers and four Tesla stations in addition to the 16 in the parking lot. It’s essential knowledge for his job: Lucht’s company is the first in Arizona to offer chauffeured transportation service using a primarily Tesla fleet, giving customers a choice of either a red Model S sedan or a black Model X SUV.

“I can monitor the charging on the Tesla app, and it’ll alert me when it’s ready,” Lucht says, displaying an image on his smartphone that shows his Model S currently charged. “If I’m having lunch on the road, it’ll tell me, ‘Hey, you’re ready to go,’ I hop in the car and I’m ready for my next stop.”

Right now, he’s getting ready to travel about 24 miles into Phoenix. “This is my next customer,” he says, pointing to a map on his phone and zooming in on AZ Ice Arcadia, where former Soviet hockey pro Boris Dorozhenko teaches a high-intensity hockey camp that’s become popular with prominent families in both the Arcadia and North Scottsdale zip codes. “I have to pick up a kid at a hockey rink. He’s at a summer camp, and this week I’m driving him to and from camp.”

It’s a ride that’ll cost the kid’s parents a minimum fare of $400, going by the rates quoted on Scottsdale Chauffeur Services’ app, but that’s within line for Lucht’s clients, who primarily live in the more affluent DC Ranch, Silverleaf and Greyhawk neighborhoods. Lucht admits the car itself is a major draw for this set, who, like Hollywood’s A-list, have fallen in love with the environmentally chic, Silicon Valley-made sports sedan. “A lot of them are Tesla owners themselves, or else they’re just curious about the car,” he says. “I get as much attention in this as I used to get driving a $400,000 Rolls Royce Phantom.”

Above: Lucht’s Model X and S (Photo by David Lucht at Scottsdale Hangar One)

Lucht got into the business nearly 20 years ago, when he landed his first chauffeur job. “Back then, I was driving Town Cars and using paper maps and a manual credit card imprinter,” he says with a laugh. Together with his twin brother Douglas, a sportsman and inline skating record-holder who tragically died of a brain tumor last November, Lucht launched his own chauffeur service in 2001. After graduating from Lincolns to BMWs to a Bentley and a Rolls Royce, Douglas became infatuated with the Tesla (David touchingly recalls serving as his brother’s chauffeur in one during his final days), and Lucht now feels spiritually bonded with the brand.

It’s time to leave for his next fare and Lucht instinctively fires up the Tesla app and starts the air conditioner before polishing off his coffee at Press.

“By the time we get to the car, it should be around 65 degrees,” he says, trudging along the Quarter’s sidewalks in the 107-degree summer heat. Once in the parking garage, he pushes a button to disconnect the charger from the car, happily noting that the Model S and Model X still get to use the superchargers for free.

Lucht says that in the old days of chauffeuring, his customers, which he ferried to fancy dinners and exclusive events, would often feel pity for the driver stuck outside, waiting in a hot Town Car with a paperback and a bottle of water. No one feels sorry for the Tesla chauffeur, though, he says.

“I’ve got a 17-inch screen in here where I can surf the web,” he says, smiling. Better yet, Lucht never has to get hot again waiting for a client to finish their event.

Above: Scottsdale Chauffeur Services does a lot of business in the Airpark area, especially at Scottsdale Airport (Photo by Kimberly Carrillo / Scottsdale Airpark News)

“The great thing about the car is you can keep the AC running and it’s not wearing on the full engine,” he says. “As long as I’ve got enough of a charge, I can leave it running for hours and it’s not going to overheat. It’s pretty much a chauffeur’s dream.”

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*Editor’s Note: The original article “Driving Innovation” by Jimmy Magahern appeared in Scottsdale Airpark News, July 2018 (edited for length); Photos by Kimberly Carrillo / Scottsdale Airpark News

*InsideEVs’ Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers, free of charge. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX. Check out the site here.

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4 Comments on "This Chauffeur Says It’s A Dream To Own A Tesla"

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CDAVIS

From article Tesla Model X owner chauffeur David Lucht said:

“…The great thing about the car is you can keep the AC running and it’s not wearing on the full engine… As long as I’ve got enough of a charge, I can leave it running for hours and it’s not going to overheat. It’s pretty much a chauffeur’s dream… I get as much attention in this as I used to get driving a $400,000 Rolls Royce Phantom.”
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If I was a chauffeur for sure I’d prefer for sake of my own comfort to drive around in a Tesla Model X.

Used as a limousine car I wonder what the fleet lifetime TCO of a Tesla Model X vs. like-kind ICE SUV limousine (i.e. Chevrolet Suburban optioned luxury version) would be?

Limousine operators using Tesla Model X in their fleet is great point of marketing for Tesla… it exposes the Model X to limousine passengers that may have not have otherwise been exposed to an electric SUV… it might trigger their interest is purchasing an electric car as their next car.

Lou Grinzo

The TCO question is intriguing, although to be honest, I think the only real question is just how much lower the EV value is than the ICE value, since it includes maintenance in addition to fuel costs.

Whenever I talk to EV newbies about my car, we have to wade through the inevitable “how far does it go on a charge” and “how do you recharge it” questions, but I always mention the TCO stuff, which makes a big impression. I tell them an EV is much cheaper to maintain because it doesn’t have a lot of the parts on a gas car that have to be repaired or changed. This is one of those “second-level realizations” about EVs that I think can have a major influence on buying decisions.

CDAVIS

@Lou Grinzo said: “…I tell them an EV is much cheaper to maintain because it doesn’t have a lot of the parts on a gas car that have to be repaired or changed…”
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Yup…

I recently ticked over 50K miles on my 2015 Model S… way lower R&M cost by a wide margin than any ICE car I’ve in past owned.

Remember good old days making a special trip for an oil change? …. gone. Or the ICE service department guy explaining how you best change out some isoteric out-of-warranty ICE part costing $$ or otherwise according to them it was a ticking time bomb that could later cost you $$$. God forbid if you needed a replacement key fob… need to take out a home mortgage for that.

Thankfully those days are behind me!

Also, I do not at all miss those regular trips to the gas station… great waking up to a fully charged car each morning!

David Loder

Having been chauffeuring for many years, it’s comforting to know that there is a new generation with solutions to former problems we’ve all been familiar with.