Service business

How Revel plans to hack the city’s car rental services company

Revel’s request was dealt with slowly as part of a three-year offer by the city to prevent the growing number of cars from ride-sharing apps from escalating in New York’s traffic jam.

The world of rental car services has grown more crowded since Uber and Lyft entered the scene. In response, Mayor Bill de Blasio limited the number of rental vehicles on city streets in 2018. This lasted until 2020. Now the TLC decides every six months whether additional rental licenses should be issued. issued.

The license break had a loophole: electric rental vehicles were exempt.

So in March, Revel applied for licenses for its electric vehicles, custom blue Tesla. “We didn’t know if they would approve of them,” Reig said. He said Revel’s cars would not increase traffic but instead replace gasoline taxis.

But in June, the TLC voted 5 to 1 that the cap should actually apply to electric vehicles. Reig wrote a letter to the agency arguing that there had been no new analysis or deliberation that would explain the sudden change to close the electric vehicle exemption.

As for what has changed since June for the TLC to allow Revel cars on the road, Reig would only say that Revel has been working with the city to allay its concerns about the number of vehicles on congested roads. The city will then revise the cap in August.

By then, Revel’s Teslas will be on the road. It has a fleet of 50, 15 of which have approved licenses, according to the TLC. They will pick up passengers below 42nd Street in Manhattan and plan to expand from there.

Revel started out just as small when he launched a handful of his electric mopeds in Brooklyn in 2018.

“You have to start in a smaller geographic area where you know there is a demand,” Reig said. In three years, the company has put 3,000 mopeds and several hundred e-bikes on the streets.

But growing the car fleet will likely be more difficult, as the city is not yet equipped to charge electric vehicle charges, neither in terms of the amount of power required nor in terms of where such a charge would have. actually take place. There are about 1.5 million cars registered to residents of the city, which does not include commuters and all taxis. Replacing more gasoline-powered cars with electric vehicles will require an infrastructure that allows drivers to charge as needed. It does not yet exist.

“We are an aging city,” said Thomas Abdallah, professor in the sustainability management program at Columbia University. “It’s not as easy as just building on what we have. There must be an engineering master plan.

Other hurdles include the limited amount of electricity from power plants in the upstate, which is expected to increase. He believed it would take decades for a robust charging infrastructure to arrive, while still allowing an ambitious private company like Revel to push the schedule forward.

Revel is building more electric charging centers that will be used by its fleet and available to the public by the end of 2022, Reig said, although he did not say where or how many. According to Reig’s letter to the Commission, he has an agreement with his rental partner for a total of 1,000 Teslas in the future, if the partner and Revel wanted to expand.

“Right now the only way to grow the fleet is through the regulatory system put in place by the Taxi and Limousine Commission,” Reig said. He hopes that they will be convinced by the progress made so far in creating this electricity infrastructure.

In June, Revel opened the first station, what she calls a “Superhub,” in Brooklyn. At the gas station, located on the border of Bedford-Stuyvesant and South Williamsburg, any car can pay to plug into the fast-charging outlets, where a charge takes 20 minutes for a 100-mile fill-up, according to the company .

Revel also operates several warehouses in the city where 300 employees exchange moped batteries and perform other maintenance work. In Red Hook, near the Tesla dealership, it has a new space for fleet maintenance and body repairs

The last time Revel announced a funding round was its Series A in 2019, when it grossed $ 27.6 million. Reig said the cost of the fleet included hiring 150 drivers, who will be employees, not gig workers, with a base salary of $ 15 an hour plus tips and the potential for quarterly bonuses, financing Teslas and building charging stations, which cost millions of dollars each.