Electric-Only Ride-Hailing Startup Revel Gets Approval to Deploy its Fleet of Tesla Model Ys in New York City on Aug 2
New York-based ride-hailing startup Revel Transit has been given the green light by city officials to launch its fleet of Tesla Model Ys and begin picking up paying customers, the Daily News reports.
The service, which launches on Aug 2 in New York, will give both Uber and Lyft some new competition in the most populous city in the U.S. It also offers a greener transportation option.
Unlike Uber and Lyft, Revel's fleet is made up entirely of zero emissions Tesla Model Y vehicles. The SUVs are easily recognizable as all of them painted a bright shade of blue the company calls "Revel Blue". For anyone that has traveled in a well-worn NYC yellow cab, Revel's fleet of Model Y vehicles will offer a more comfortable experience for riders.
The Tesla Model Y vehicles also offer extra legroom. Revel has removed the front passenger seats in each of the vehicles to give rear seat passengers more room to stretch out. The company also added a touch screen display that can be accessed from the rear set to control the cabin temperature or play music through an interactive touchscreen interface.
Revel will initially offer rides south of 42nd St. in midtown Manhattan.
Revel was founded in 2018. The company initially started renting electric mopeds before expanding to include e-bikes and now to passenger vehicles with its ride-hailing service. Cusomers can summon a Tesla Model Y with the Revel smartphone app.
Unlike Uber and Lyft, all of Revel's drivers are hired as employees and receive training and access to benefits such as health care and paid time off, which Uber drivers have been fighting for in cities around the world. In addition, Revel owns the entire fleet of Tesla Model Ys, so drivers don't have to worry about wear and tear and accumulating miles on their personal vehicles or the added expense of maintaining them.
Revel planned to launch its service in April but was met with resistance. New York has been fighting to limit the number of ride-share vehicles that can operate within the city. In 2018 the New York City Council voted to cap the number of licensed Uber drivers that can operate in the city. City officials have blamed Uber and other ride-hailing operators for an increase in traffic, especially in popular areas of midtown Manhattan, where city streets are often clogged with thousands of ride-share vehicles during peak times.
Bruce Schaller, a transit consultant who served as deputy commissioner for traffic and planning in New York City, released a new report in July 2018 examining the effect ride-hailing companies have on city traffic nationwide. The report alleges that the biggest operators, Uber and Lyft, are responsible for an 180% increase in traffic in major markets where the companies operate, including San Francisco, Philadelphia, Seattle, Los Angeles and Chicago.
Shortly after the report was made public, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had placed a limit on the number of app-based, for-hire vehicles allowed to operate in New York City after the city council voted to approve the cap to help reduce traffic congestion. It would have prevented Revel from operating in the city. However, Mayor de Blasio allowed an exemption for fully-electric or wheelchair-accessible vehicles, according to a Daily News report, which paved the way for Revel to launch its electric-only ride-hailing service using the Model Ys.
The city's Taxi and Limousine Commission, which licenses and regulates medallion taxis and for-hire vehicles, tried to prevent Revel from launching by closing that loophole set by the mayor. However, according to the Daily News, Revel's fleet of Tesla Model Ys was approved by the TLC before the change went into effect.
Revel currently operates it's transportation service in four New York City boroughs, Washington, D.C., Miami, Florida, and in the California cities of San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley.
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