EXCLUSIVE: GLiiDE CEO Talks Tesla, Transport and the Driverless Future
London’s newest on-demand chauffeur service launched this summer as GLiiDE entered the market with its fleet of electric, luxury Tesla Model S’s.
GLiiDE will base its sustainable offering around a smartphone app and corporate portal that incorporates booking, tracking and payment, with the service currently invitational as it looks to iron out any issues before full rollout.
Following a successful launch, we spoke to co-founder and CEO Mark Waters about the project, and whether he believes electric, and even driverless vehicles to be the future transport solutions for businesses.
BRE: Why is GLiiDE the future of chauffer services?
MW: The current landscape of road-based transport in cities worldwide is unsustainable and outdated - rising fuel prices and legislative pressure due to air quality and climate concerns are pushing the cost of running conventional vehicles higher and higher.
With the availability of high-range electric vehicles and renewable energy, we believe it is only a matter of time before these technologies dominate the landscape. Gliide offers a glimpse into the future of sustainable transport; we have developed our business model, operations and software purely for getting the best use out of electric vehicles.
How did you come to found GLiiDE?
For many years the industry as a whole has used an out-dated business model. Not only from a sustainability stand point but in terms of reliability, safety and overall operational transparency. It is an ambitious problem to tackle but technology is now allowing people to adopt and experience a far more enjoyable, convenient and safer means of getting around.
We are using technology to provide a tailored service to offer customers a chauffeur service that meets their needs.
Why did you choose Tesla cars for the service?
Tesla have changed the way the world views electric cars. Instead of small sized vehicles with low range performance Tesla have produced a car that is desirable, spacious and importantly capable of long distance journeys.
Gliide wants to build on this change and demonstrate just what is possible with today's technology. Ultimately the Tesla Model S provides all of the functionality we need to make our business truly viable.
Do you believe other industries will follow suit and take up electric vehicles? Should they?
Of course, it is inevitable! As costs continue to rise for petrol or diesel based vehicles and continue to decrease for electric vehicles it will become a matter of economic common sense.
At present it is difficult for many organisations who may struggle to switch from conventional fleets to all electric vehicles, with fuel/range anxiety and operational differences causing potential problems.
Are you looking to expand beyond London?
Absolutely. The problem we are trying to solve is very much a worldwide one, there is not a major city in the world which could not be improved through the introduction of sustainable electric vehicles.
Is the future eventually a driverless one?
Yes eventually, although it may take some time. It is one thing proving the technology works, it is another bringing it to a consumer facing mass market.
Lots of unknown factors will present themselves such as whether or not legislation will allow autonomous vehicles to transport paying customers and if so what safety measures will be in place.
When that time does come however, Gliide intends to be one of the first providers to begin such an integration just like we have with electric vehicles.
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