Dallas-Based EV Startup is Electrifying the Future of Rideshare

What's next is scale, says eCarra's Rock Robinson. The electric vehicle startup offers luxury “rides that matter” in their fleet of Teslas. Landing its largest corporate client to date, the future looks bright.

Now, Robinson wants to replicate its model in markets across the country to spur more EV usage—and help support other Black-owned businesses.

CEO Rock Robinson, along with co-founder and president Kevin Shea, launched eCarra, an all-electric vehicle ridesharing platform, in early 2019. The Dallas startup offers luxury “rides that matter” in their fleet of Teslas— and a tree planted for each ride given. To date, eCarra has planted more than 6,500 trees, preventing 40,000 lbs. of CO2 emissions, Robinson says.

While the pandemic has been tough on the rideshare sector, eCarra landed its biggest corporate client to date last year. The startup agreed to provide rides to Dallas-based executives from Amazon Web Services Premium, along with 650 AWS staff members in Virginia.

Innovating for green solutions

Also in 2020, eCarra developed the air quality reader “SeedPod.” Robinson says it’s “the very first real-time air quality reader inside a vehicle that records data as the vehicle moves.” After testing the reader over the last few months, Robinson says eCarra is confident that the “unprecedented data will provide incredible value to people and businesses alike.”

The new app will let users see real-time air quality in the cities where they live, work, and play, he says, adding that “companies partnering with eCarra like Amazon AWS will see air quality and emissions data for users who are linked to their organization.” The startup recently announced a partnership with Dallas-based solar power developer O3 Energy to install solar canopies and charging stations in parking lots to make the ridesharing company’s future brighter and greener. 

Rock Robinson, co-founder of eCarra EV rideshare

Rock Robinson, eCarra co-founder

Pandemic safeguards

“In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s safe to say that life as we once knew it is long gone,” Robinson says.

Maintaining a level of consistency is essential as things are changing all around us, he says. During the pandemic, eCarra has aimed to serve a small loyal clientele “completely uninterrupted, and with more safeguards, more reliability, and more flexibility.” 

Robinson says the company’s model of micro fleets is unique because it lets the company pay close attention to the individual needs of clients by focusing on smaller groups that rely on services within the same neighborhood or city. 

Built on resilience

We look forward to challenges because they’re the reasons for innovation, Robinson says, noting the pandemic. “We’re built on resilience. From the beginning, we knew [building eCarra] would be the most important project of our lives.”

“We see all challenges the same,” the entrepreneur says. “We’ve faced tremendous setbacks and hardships, and we’re just a few years old.” Quoting Zappos Co-Founder Tony Hsieh, he adds, “Nothing is as good or as bad as it may seem.”

Paying it forward

“Social injustice is real, and we deal with it every day,” Robinson says, discussing the year of social unrest. Aiming to support other Black-owned businesses, eCarra partnered with Washington, DC-based Fareryder to help the emerging rideshare startup hit the ground running.

“When we first started—we had nothing; I wanted to help give Fareryder a head start, an opportunity that we weren’t fortunate enough to have,” Robinson says.

The partnership helped provide a robust digital infrastructure to support reservations, food delivery, electric car shuttle services, and on-demand rides—while automating tree planting and emissions tracking. 

“[Fareryder] saved hundreds of thousands of dollars on building and developing their infrastructure so that they could focus on what’s most important—reducing pollution, executing their concept, and making electric vehicle usage more accessible outside of just the ride-share industry,” Robinson says.

That’s a mission for Robinson. “What’s next for eCarra is scale,” he says. “We have been working silently in the background to make our company better.”

In the near future, he hopes that eCarra will help electrify other fleets across the country, making a more sustainable ridesharing concept available in many more markets. 

Quincy Preston contributed to this story.

A version of this story was originally published in Dallas Innovates 2021: The Resilience Issue.

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Dallas Innovates 2021: The Resilience Issue highlights Dallas-Fort Worth as a hub for innovation. Our fourth annual edition spotlights the collective strength of the innovation ecosystem and intellectual capital in Dallas-Fort Worth. It’s a force to be reckoned with.

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