A vanpool is like a carpool, but a van can take more people to work in one trip. It is also significantly less cool-looking. But vanpoolers in Los Angeles need no longer worry about the potential for being uncool during the ride to work: Green Commuter has launched in the city with a fleet of all-electric, zero-emissions Tesla Model X SUVs.
Green Commuter is a cross between a vanpool and car sharing. Company CEO Gustavo Occhiuzzo said in a press release that there are 1,500 vanpools with destinations in Los Angeles County, with twice that many total across the region. Each of those vans is only used 10-15 hours a week, Occhiuzzo says. The rest of the time, they’re sitting in parking lots.
That’s where the shared-vehicle model Green Commuter uses comes in. Rather than paying for a van to sit for more than 90 percent of the work week, users can access an app via iOS and Android to share the Teslas and maximize their miles. A group of like-minded employees or a company can rent a Model X, which seats a van-like seven adults, by the month. A company could in theory replace its fleet of vanpool vehicles with shared Model Xs.
The vehicles are also available for sharing through Green Commuter on weekends for trips to places like Las Vegas or San Diego, basically somewhere in the Tesla’s range with a place to recharge at the destination. The website shows that Green Commuter already has service in Chattanooga, Tennessee, as well, with plans to expand statewide in California and further nationwide in the future.
Green Commuter was founded in 2014 and has been based at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator since 2015. It’s launching an Indiegogo campaign today, August 2, to boost the user community with lower fees. Through the campaign, rentals start at $10 an hour or $150 a weekend, a discount from the usual rates of $18 per hour or $100-$250 per month.
Green Commuter joins Tesloop in using Tesla vehicles as shared and carpooling vehicles for chronically gridlocked Los Angelenos.