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City to City Travel in Zero-Emission Electric Vehicles

We want to make travel convenient, stress-free, and safe. For the time-conscious or physically inhibited, they need a door to door solution.

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Our focus is on consumers that are physically unable or uncomfortable with the current travel methods. There isn’t a convenient and simple solution for city to city travel that is truly door to door that is also zero-emission. Buses and flights require transport to a takeoff point and a final last mile trip to the final destination. Their schedules are also rigid and not convenient. This adds complexity, stress, and time for passengers. Especially for the elderly or not as technically savvy, this process can be daunting and won’t cater to their special needs. Lastly is driving. While this is door to door, the main issue is safety. Over 300,000 drowsy driving accidents occur every single year in the U.S. and 8% of those are fatal. In addition to the safety aspect, the large amount of time wasted could be better spent on entertainment, resting, or working.

ElecTrip wants to make city to city travel convenient, stress-free, and productive. In order to achieve this vision, we utilize Teslas to transport people door to door between major cities in Texas. By only using electric vehicles, we reduce our carbon footprint on the planet while reducing our operating costs to provide the most value for our customers. By using Teslas, we can ensure the safety of our passengers. We have already served over 1,000+ customers since starting in March of 2018 and are earning $15,000 in revenue per month as of September of 2019.

Describe who will use your solution (1,000 characters)

Our focus is on travelers that want to go city to city but have physical restrictions from getting behind the wheel or have trouble taking the current travel methods available. The two main use cases come down to safety and providing the opportunity of travel for those who don’t have access. On safety, we currently do rides for professionals that go to conferences, recruiting events, and happy hours where they will leave drowsy or having consumed some alcohol. In the past, they would travel drowsy or inebriated which could cause accidents (Texas auto fatalities have increased for the past seven years and finally fell this past year for the first time). Eliminating distracted driving or drunk/reckless driving will help make Austin roads safer. All of our drivers are trained to follow the speed limit and we monitor them through Tesla to ensure safety. For those that don’t have access, our service picks up at the door and can do multiple stops and drops to cater to the passenger’s need.

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Ready to Scale - you have completed and expanded your pilot and are seeing adoption of your solution by your intended user

Insights from previous testing (500 characters)

During our first few months in 2018, we tested out the service with different customers and business models. We found that travelers valued privacy and comfort. We originally sold individual seats, but this created complexity and passengers wanted more privacy. On comfort, the focus is on trust. Small details like texting the customer ETA, all help establish trust. Even our amenities like WiFi are just features to help the passenger feel more comfortable.

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

ElecTrip is a team of four who met in engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. The CEO, Mandeep Patel, focuses on operations and major partnerships. He use to work in oil and gas but wanted to help reduce carbon emissions and zeroed in on travel. The rest of the team helps with scaling operations and marketing. Ensuring the car is fully serviced, arrives on time, and has a full charge are challenging operationally and takes all of us to work. Our website is:

Size of your team or organization

  • 2-10

Team or Organization URL

Funding Request

  • $25,000

Rough budget (500 characters)

The main need for funding is establishing electric vehicle charging. Operationally, we always encounter busy chargers in the Austin area and need more charging in East Austin for routes between Austin and Houston. We receive Tesla chargers for free currently and are integrating with hotels, but will eventually need to build our own. The budget will be split in $15,000 for 30 Tesla chargers and the remaining $10,000 for marketing through Facebook ads and Google geo-targeted search ads.

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

We have an implementation team in place for corporate clients such as Shell. For a pilot within East Austin, we would go to disadvantaged communities that are disconnected from public transport and provide some marketing to them through visits. By partnering with community centers like the Eastside Community Church or the Createscape Coworking space, we can bring some Teslas on-site to help evangelize the service. For the KIPP school in Houston, we provide discounted rides for them to easily travel and it would be perfect East AISD school administrators. Beyond evangelizing, we wanted to help spread awareness about EVs and their benefits mainly through building charging infrastructure. By exposing more people to the benefits of electric vehicles, we can get to a cleaner future for transportation.

Describe how you would measure the success of your pilot (1000 characters)

We would measure: increase in enabled travelers that didn’t have access to city to city travel, adoption of zero-emission travel, increase in charging stations, and usage of charging. For enabled travelers, we want to track usage against populations that have difficulty using the current travel methods such as seniors. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Austin-Round Rock area has the second fastest growing population of adults aged 65 and older. In order to gauge success for zero-emission travel adoption, we will track against current travel patterns. Out of the 51,478 working professionals in East Austin, 89.5% go to work in a gas car which causes traffic and pollution. Utilizing our service for groups traveling will alleviate stress on Austin’s roads. The majority of Austin’s charging infrastructure is located downtown and west in higher income areas, and expanding infrastructure will improve the community by increasing the average property value alongside EV adoption.

Sustainability Plan (500 characters)

Our business is profitable and growing at 30% each month since March 2018. We started the year at $3,000 in revenue a month and grew to $15,000 a month. After signing a $40,000 contract with Shell, we are working with Deloitte and ExxonMobil on similar contracts. We plan on using this pilot to spread the word about ElecTrip and serve more markets beyond business travel in the Austin area and beyond. Helping Austin’s disadvantaged population will help us tap into more recreational travel.

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