Moped-Sharing Firm Revel Eyes New York City Ride-Hailing Service

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Electric moped-sharing startup Revel is venturing in new directions, planning to launch its own ride-hailing service in New York City using only Tesla electric vehicles, The Verge reported.

The three-year-old startup operates in cities across the U.S. As it has grown, it launched an electric bike subscription service and revealed plans to build the largest EV charging station in New York City.

The move may impact the city’s struggling yellow cab drivers from than Lyft or Uber, the news outlet notes. Although Revel could expand the ride-hailing service to other neighborhoods and boroughs based on demand, in the beginning it will only be offered in Manhattan, and only below 42nd Street.

That’s a lucrative territory for taxi drivers, who are already hurting due to a drop in riders in the area of 80 to 90 percent.

There’s also the question of Revel’s license. Like Uber before it, the company announced plans to offer ride-hailing before the city approved its license. The city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) says Revel is not yet licensed. Revel says it is finalizing the process.

New York’s cap on the number of ride-hailing vehicles a company can operate does not apply to electric vehicles, something that can give Revel a loophole, The Verge said. Wheelchair-accessible vehicles are also exempt from the cap.

“TLC capped for-hire vehicles because supply already exceeds demand,” TLC Commissioner Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk told The Verge. “The electric battery exemption exists to encourage already-licensed cars to go green, not to flood an already saturated market or to disenfranchise the Yellow Taxi sector in Manhattan. This ride-share scheme deviates from the spirit of those rules, and TLC will not cut corners in doing its full diligence.”

Tesla was already the vehicle of choice for another ridesharing service, Envoy. Based in California, that company said in a January interview with PYMNTS that a nationwide expansion could be on the horizon.

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