Project 100, which is being launched by the Downtown Project in Las Vegas, placed orders on March 29 for 100 Tesla Model S vehicles for its car sharing service, according to the project's website, www.goproject100.com.
The project aims to combine traditional car sharing with on-demand drivers, shared bikes and shared shuttle bus stops under one monthly membership plan.
The service is set to begin this fall, and also marks the largest single order in Tesla's history.
“We are excited to be partnering with Downtown Project and Project 100,” said Elon Musk, founder and CEO of Tesla Motors. “I am a big fan of their innovative efforts to help revitalize and transform downtown Vegas.”
How It Works
In the coming months, Project 100 will start a beta, invite-only service using its mobile application. The mobile app locates the user and asks which "zone" of the city the person would like to travel to.
The city zones are broken up into four zones: downtown, residential (which is roughly two miles around the downtown zone), the city and the outer zone (which is anything outside the Las Vegas metro area).
From there, the person is given serveral options. The website states that the user can be picked up by a driver in a Tesla in "three minutes," self-drive a vehicle that's "0.2 miles away," grab a nearby bicycle or hop on the "party bus" that will be near the user "in four minutes."
"Based on your answers, your membership level, and supply and demand, we can offer you a set of options, including vehicles that can pick you up and vehicles and bikes available to drive within a guaranteed amount of time that’s consistent," the website states. "For example, you will always know that if you are in the residential zone and want to get to the Downtown zone, you can be picked up at your door within 10 minutes."
Project 100 said that it chose to launch in Las Vegas because it is a "very disconnected city," meaning, if not in New York City or Chicago, using public transit or finding a taxi can be difficult.
Aside from citing the Tesla Model S as "beautiful yet functional" and "fun to drive," Project 100 decided on the electric vehicles for several reasons:
"It’s also a big computer on wheels which gives us the opportunity to optimize the member experience over time and test a lot of theories about how people use vehicles. Tesla thinks like a startup and our conversations with their program and engineering teams so far solidified that they were the right long-term partner. Most importantly we wanted to replace peoples’ traditional vehicles with vehicles that do less harm to the environment than a traditional gas-powered vehicle."
Project 100 said it is working to get the infastructure ready with local utility partner NV Energy.
Other vehicles are being tested over the next few months to also include in the fleet, such as vans or pickups to move furniture, for example.
The network will also use software from Local Motion, which focuses on software for transportation systems. The company has been working on hardware that uses the Tesla's on-board system, reports location, unlocks doors, handles maintenance and more. Local Motion also has built a fleet management system for Project 100.
"We’ve been working with [Local Motion] for a while now to develop a good chunk of the technology that will power Project 100 across all of our vehicles including bikes," the website states.
Going with 100 purchases is because Project 100 hopes people will actually get rid of their cars. "We think we have a responsibility to show [customers] we’re serious about helping them replace them (their cars)," Project 100 said. "So we wanted to start big so our members know they will always have a vehicle available when they need one."
Since Project 100 expects people to get rid of their cars, it plans to offer a monthly membership.
"We’re aiming to keep the monthly cost for most members in the same range as a traditional monthly car payment plus insurance, which averages around $400 per month," the website states, adding that entry-level membership will likely also be an option.
"Our beta over the next few months will have a big influence over what level of service is available to each level of membership as we test theories on how people will use the system."