It’s a well-known fact that today’s youth are less interested in car ownership than their parents or grandparents were. Indeed, getting your first car, that age-old rite of passage anyone over the age of thirty will remember with fondness, has been replaced by the convenience and when-y0u-need-it functionality of city car clubs and ride-sharing platforms like Uber and Lyft.
While ride-sharing platforms might work for cross-city trips or the occasional airport run however, they don’t work well for cross-country trips. Indeed, if you need to get from point A to B and don’t have a car of your own, choices are limited. Either rent or borrow a car, suffer the discomfort and lack of personal space on a cheap long-distance bus ride, take a train (if you’re lucky) or fly.
Although flying might be relatively cheap however, there are a lot of restrictions. There’s the needing to arrive three hours before your flight. The having to survive airport security. The baggage limitations of affordable airlines, and of course, the whole nasty, massive carbon footprint of it all.
But now an entrepreneuring High School Junior from California has come up with an alternative by the name of Tesloop, a personally-chauffeured shuttle service between Culver City California and Las Vegas, Nevada.
As our friends at Autobloggreen detail, Tesloop offers an alternative to commercial air travel, offering personal pickup and drop off between the two major cities with a ticket costing just $85 one way. Eventually, it aims to extend its service to Palm Springs, San Diego, Santa Barbara and beyond, with zero emission luxury rides between major cities becoming an alternative to the plane.
The business founder? 16-year old Haydn Sonad, who you may remember from Tesla’s annual shareholder meeting, where he took to the microphone to ask Elon Musk about the reliability of Tesla’s autopilot features.
“I’m going to be creating a constant loop of this car with people filled in it going between Culver City and Las Vegas,” he had said. “I call this a Tesloop. Will Autopliot be good enough to ensure their safe travels on the road?”
While he wasn’t able to afford his own Tesla Model S, Sonad’s father — the company cofounder — helped him out by arranging the loan needed to lease the Tesla Model S. Armed with a Model S, Sonad and his partners spent the majority of their summer vacation shuttling people between the two cities. Far more enjoyable than your average teenage summer job, Sonad was able to raise some significant cash during the summer, simply by driving to and from Las Vegas a few times a week. Indeed, during its first week, the company claims it shuttled 40 people between LA and Las Vegas.
Unlike those long-distance busses, fuelling wasn’t an issue either, thanks to Tesla’s supercharger network. Pickup and dropoff locations are more convenient too, with a rapidly-growing list of places you can board or alight the luxury zer0-emission shuttle service at.
Tesloop boasts that its electric car shuttle service is made up entirely of high-end Tesla Model S 85D models capable of seating four people in relative luxury. Unlike airlines, you’re asked to be at your departure point between 5 and 20 minutes before departure. Your pilot — Tesloop’s name for its drivers — meet and greet you personally, load your luggage into the car, and then proceed on the two-and-a-half hour trip to the Barstow Supercharger for a 20-minute stop, before carrying on to your desintation.
Restrictions? Sadly there are some — and it may put some passengers off.
First of all, while WiFi is offered during the service thanks to a 4G mobile hotspot built into the car, Tesloop requests you don’t stream video to ensure that there’s fast connectivity for everyone. Along the same vein, the company requests that all phone calls made are under 3-minutes in length.
To ensure there’s enough luggage space for everyone, there’s also a maximum of one medium size bag + one personal item per passenger, or one carry-on size bag and two personal items. Altogether, bags must be less than 55 pounds in total for each traveller.
Then there’s the rule about bathroom breaks and food. To keep the inside of the car reasonably tidy, only easily-contained snack foods are available within the car, although free purified water is available to drink.
Of its considerations, Tesloop makes the following statement on its website:
Tesloop is an excellent travel option for many, but there are some types of travelers for whom Tesloop may not be suitable. For example, people who need frequent or long bathroom breaks, people who like to talk on the phone for long periods of time, people who are uncomfortable with in-cabin food limitations, people traveling with children who require car seats, or people who have no flexibility in their arrival schedule.
Pets are also prohibited.
Bonuses? There’s the zero carbon footprint, the great scenery, and the aforementioned lack of airport security. But if we’re honest, we think this service works best for friends who want to travel together: not individuals wanting a ride on their own. Due to a fairly generous cancellation policy (cancel 72-hours in advance and you’ll get a full refund, or cancel due to health and you can opt to reschedule at no cost) Tesloop could also fit the bill for those who may find their travel plans have a tendency to change beyond the fairly strict cancellation policies of most short-haul flights.
Would we try it? While we have to enjoy the pleasure of flying once we’re in the air, we also have to admit we’d happily forgo the queues and hassle of checking in to use a service like Tesloop. And for quick short hops between cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles, Portland and Seattle, or perhaps New York and Washington, D.C., we’ll admit taking a chauffeured Model S driven by a pleasant, personable chauffeur sounds great.
But like Uber and Lyft, we suspect it won’t be long before someone objects to the Tesloop business model, especially given its use of Tesla Superchargers. For example, f you were held up at a Supercharger station by a Tesloop car full of paying customers, how would you feel about it?
We’re eager to hear your thoughts in the Comments below.
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