- Brooklyn startup Revel is launching an electric ride-hailing service in May.
- Users will be able to order a ride in Manhattan from Revel’s initial fleet of 50 Tesla Model Ys.
- Revel will bring on drivers as employees rather than independent contractors.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
A new ride-hailing service is looking to take on Uber and Lyft in New York City with a fleet of electric vehicles.
Brooklyn startup Revel, known primarily for its app-based moped-sharing service, is expanding into the taxi business, the company announced on Wednesday. The service will launch with an initial fleet of 50 Tesla Model Y crossovers that users can order through the Revel app starting in late May. It’s also building an in-house charging network to power them.
Revel says getting into ride-hailing is the next logical step in its plan to expand zero-emission transportation options.
“Our mission has always been to electrify cities,” Frank Reig, Revel’s co-founder and CEO, told Insider. “As you think about a company that is trying to create an electric-vehicle ecosystem – electrify every single trip in a city, A to B – rideshare for us was really just a natural next step in that process.”
The service will at first be limited to Manhattan below 42nd Street, but Revel expects it will grow much like the company’s original moped business, which has expanded from a small area of Brooklyn to six major markets since 2018.
In addition to being served exclusively by company-owned EVs, Revel’s ride-hailing platform sets itself apart in that it will be staffed by employees rather than independent contractors. Drivers will be entitled to guaranteed wages, paid time off, health insurance, and other benefits that self-employed drivers for rival services don’t get, but many have demanded for years.
Managing its own fleet and bringing on professional drivers as employees should drive down costs by reducing driver turnover and liability risk, Reig says. Pricing will be competitive with other companies in the space, but Revel promises a slightly more premium experience.
Each of the Model Y taxis has the front seat removed for extra legroom and features a touchscreen for passengers to toggle climate controls and music.
The cars will hit streets as Revel works to get another project off the ground: A network of fast-charging stations for electric cars called Superhubs. By launching both businesses simultaneously, Revel COO and co-founder Paul Suhey told Insider, Revel’s taxis get a place to charge overnight and its first Superhubs get enough business to make them profitable to operate.
Revel’s first Superhub will open in Brooklyn in June and will eventually be the largest universal fast-charging station in North America, according to the company. Revel also announced a $99-per-month e-bike leasing service in February.
Ride-hailing customers will need to join a waitlist due to limited availability to start. Over the next year, Revel plans to expand its fleet and add additional electric models to meet rider demand.