This SoCal start-up is driving at electrifying more commuters while easing traffic congestion overall. Hear how their all electric car sharing and van pooling plans are shaping up here in Los Angeles and how Chattanooga, Tennessee is connected.
Recording date – January 10, 2018
Bart Sidles: We have a fleet of all-electric vehicles that we rent out for vanpool and car share, and we’re focused on achieving our mission of reducing the cost of commuting, improving the traffic flow, and reducing CO2 emission. People that are traveling on average here or around Southern California, their daily round trip for vanpool is 94 miles roundtrip on a daily basis. We’ve created our own proprietary technology that allows people to create their own vanpool and to get people to join it. And everything is done on our app.
Tom Smith: Welcome iDriveSoCal, the podcast all about mobility from the automotive capital of the United States, Southern California. I’m your host Tom Smith. And joining me today is Bart Sidles. Bart is a director of corporate and business development for a startup company called Green Commuter here in Los Angeles. Green Commuter works out of the L.A. Cleantech Incubator, L-A-C-I, LACI, as they like to say. Bart, thank you so much for joining me today.
Bart: Absolutely, Tom, pleasure to be here.
Tom: So high level, tell me about Green Commuter.
Bart: Green Commuter, we are, as you said, we’re a startup company here at LACI. We have a fleet of all-electric vehicles that we rent out for vanpool and car share, and we’re actually B Corp, and we’re focused on achieving our mission of reducing the cost of commuting, improving the traffic flow, and reducing CO2 emission.
Tom: So I’m driving on the highway. I am from Chicago so let me preface that and maybe it was in the Midwest, and I’ve spent time in other in other states as well, but have I seen the old school vanpool signs on the side of the highway in California? And I know you’re from the Midwest as well.
Tom: Maybe you can help me with this. Is this a state by state thing? Is this in California?
Bart: It’s not. It’s everywhere.
Tom: I’m talking about the old school ones.
Bart: Yeah, well the old school ones where you have usually park and ride. So a lot of times you might see these park and rides where people are able to park and then they do ride. So people…maybe would be good to go back of understanding what vanpool is. Some people know what car share is and vanpool is when a group of people together, which is usually more than four or five, actually, for kind of the federal subsidies which came through the Clean Air Act, it has to have a minimum of five. And you have to have a vehicle that has a minimum of seven seats. And therefore, right now, because we want to remain all electric, the only all electric vehicle that is seven seats is the Tesla Model X, and that’s kind of a fun thing about what we do here at Green Commuters.
And the fact is Tesla Model X, for people that are traveling on average here or around Southern California, their daily round trip for vanpool is 94 miles roundtrip on a daily basis. So that’s a long way to travel. And when can get them into an electric vehicle, A, it obviously helps improve the emissions by putting into a zero emission vehicle. And hopefully, not only converting people from current van pools but creating new ones. We’ve created our own proprietary technology that allows people to create their own vanpool and to get people to join it. And everything is done on our app. And that’s one of the benefits that we have over the legacy vanpool companies where there might be kind of paperwork to keep track of who was on, how far they traveled, to get these subsidies. So it’s very exciting in this kind of new disruptive mobility space.
Tom: And you guys rent the vehicles to groups that gather by way of, is it exclusively through the app or maybe a website too but mostly through the app? Yes, going on to our website, also, we have apps, you can go onto both either Android onto the Google Play Store or into the Apple Store, download our app or, actually, you know, reach out to us as well and say that we have a group of people that we are in a current vanpool and we would like to convert over to an all- electric vehicle. And one that’s fully electric, not hybrid.