Rock Robinson was working for Apple in business development, while his partner worked for Uber, when they quickly realized there’s a strong demand for premium, clean, luxury rides, especially in the business-to-business space.
So they decided to create a rideshare company that was environmentally friendly.
Operating by the tagline “rides that matter,” eCarra uses strictly electric vehicles for an experience that’s sustainable, fast, and luxurious. With its fleet of about 25 Teslas, eCarra offers a premium ride experience that’s customizable through its iOS app.
The eCarra app launched Jan. 1 and is already in its second update. The Android version will launch soon.
Right now, the app gives carbon footprint updates, has gamification features, and encourages users to share the experience on social media.
Robinson, who’s co-founder and CEO, says he and his partners designed the ride-hailing app to do everything Uber does, but without consuming gasoline.
“We realized the combustion engine was going to die,” Robinson says. “I was really in-tune with what’s going on in our environment. If it’s all electric then I’m in.”
They rented their first Tesla on Turro and started offering rides for free just to test the market. Demand soared.
Then, they met Dink Davis, owner of iDrive1 Motorcars, a preowned wholesaler who sells a lot of Teslas. He hooked eCarra up with a fleet of vehicles and became an investor in the company.
The ride are comparable to Uber, but customers know they’re getting a Tesla that’s cleaned daily and looks immaculate. Since the company launched, 97 percent of customers have said this is their first ride in a Tesla.
And, eCarra’s drivers are all independent contractors who go through four different interviews before they are hired.
Robinson said he likes to call eCarra the Whole Foods of the rideshare industry because customers will pay a little more for a better, environmentally friendly product. Most of their business so far has been trips to or from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, the “last mile” for a business traveler.
“We’ve got some really good traction here,” Robinson says. “Our goal is to help corporations, one, keep really good people by employee retention with amenities like this, two, help them from a carbon standpoint by helping them lower their footprint and three, give them measurable and goals to help them increase those initiatives to save energy and gasoline.”
Customers can pick their mood when they schedule a ride through eCarra. Those who just want to get there fast can select the ‘hurry’ option. There’s an ‘experience’ mode where the driver will demonstrate features of the Tesla, and a ‘party’ mode for a fun atmosphere. ‘Shotgun’ allows the rider to sit in the front and play with the giant touchscreen. Customers can also select a trip with stops along the way.
Tesla’s built-in navigation also has the edge over other vehicles, too.
“We can get to most places faster than everybody else,” Robinson says. “We can see where to go and where not to go, everything’s red so we just follow the green.”
The company has also developed an algorithm that factors in electric charging, determining whether a vehicle should take another trip or charge first.
“There’s no data like that,” he says. “The algorithm knows when to charge and how much is needed.”
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