Tony Hsieh made shopping for shoes easy. It also made him a fortune when he sold Zappos to Amazon for around $850 million. Lately, he has been focusing on revitalizing downtown Las Vegas, and 100 of Tesla's all-electric Model S cars are part of the plan.
With a base price of $52,400 (after a $7,500 federal tax credit), the Teslas are part of a collaborative transportation system designed to free people from owning cars and at less than the monthly cost of traditional car ownership. Called Project 100, the transportation system will also include more than 100 on-demand drivers, as well as more than 100 bikes and shuttle bus stops. Reservations will be made via a mobile app as described below. The app and transport vehicles will be available in an invite-only beta program later this year.
The experience is simple: open an app so we know where you are and tell us what zone you want to travel to. With that information we'll give you a set of options, for example, 1 - Be picked up by a driver in a Tesla in 3 minutes, 2 - Drive yourself in a low range electric vehicle that's 0.2 miles away, 3 - Grab a bike that's 0.1 miles away or 4 - Hop on the party bus that will be near you in 4 minutes.
The cost for frequent users will be around $400 per month, which Project 100 equates to the average cost for a car payment and insurance.
Hsieh's vision is to transform Las Vegas into the "most community-focused and connected city in the world," according to the description for Project 100. The idea is to increase "collisions between people" and boost the vitality of downtown Las Vegas by making it easier for subscribers to travel a few blocks or miles.
According to the information released, the Tesla was chosen because of its environmental friendliness, the startup mentality of the company, and the vehicle's programmability for testing scenarios and analyzing data. Project 100 is also investigating the use of smaller electric vehicles, such as the Polaris GEM.