Angel Worldwide owner/operator Goldie Bhullar, operations manager Dustin Baker, executive chauffeur Michael Rosas, and COO Raj Mehta look forward to adding an all-electric Tesla S luxury sedan to their San Francisco Bay Area chauffeured fleet in the summer of 2013, becoming one of the first, if not the first, chauffeured transportation operators to deploy the Tesla S.
CASTRO VALLEY, Calif. — Angel Worldwide Transportation on Nov. 8 ordered a Tesla S sedan, a full-electric model that combines luxury, efficiency and sport sedan flair. The 27-vehicle company appears to be the first chauffeured transportation company in the nation to order a Tesla S for fleet service.
Owner/Operator Goldie Bhullar expects to take delivery of the black-on-black vehicle, manufactured by Tesla Motors in nearby Fremont, Calif., by the summer of 2013. Bhullar ordered the vehicle after hearing from premium sedan clients who indicated they swould be willing to ride in an electric luxury vehicle. .
“This is something we’ve always wanted and something different in our fleet,” said Bhullar, whose post-Town Car fleet strategy has been to offer as much variety and flexibility as possible with different vehicles. “I test drove it. It’s an awesome vehicle.”
Bhullar reports that the legroom and trunk space ranges between that of a Lincoln Town Car and a Lincoln MKT Town Car. It has comfortable leather seats, can fit three passengers in the rear seat, and has active air suspension, which costs an additional $1,500, for a smoother ride. “There is no drive shaft in the middle. We sat three people in the back and they were comfortable.”
The Tesla S electric luxury sedan retails for about $90,000 but can save a chauffeured fleet operator about $3,000 a month in fuel costs.
Because the vehicle is electric, it does not need most of the conventional parts of a gasoline vehicle. That results in low operating and maintenance costs. “There are no mechanical parts in there to break down,” Bhullar said. “There’s only one [main] moving part and need to [replace] that part every five years.”
Maintenance costs about $600 through Tesla, which covers all tests, software updates, battery maintenance, brakes, pads and wiper blades. The battery has a warranty of eight years with unlimited miles.
The Tesla S is built with three different battery/power configurations. The most powerful battery is an 85 kilowatt model that offers a maximum traveling range up to 300 miles between charges. Bhullar estimates the Tesla S will save his company $3,000 to $3,500 per month in the gas costs typical of a Lincoln Town Car sedan.
Tesla offers its clients free electric power from charging stations at its company headquarters that recharge many times faster than conventional stations, resulting in an average charge time of about one hour. As one of the greenest and most energy progressive regions in the U.S., the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area has scores of public EV charging stations at government owned and run facilities, with more than 50 such charging stations in the city of San Francisco alone as of this past summer, according to the San Francisco Water-Power-Sewer utility.
Bhullar plans to offer the Tesla S as a premium-level chauffeured sedan with an estimated rate of about $75 to $80 per hour, making it similar in rate to the Mercedes-Benz S550 sedan.
— Martin Romjue, LCT editor