The Sydney-based company that in 2015 transformed a few Tesla Model S electric vehicles into Australia’s first zero-emissions luxury chauffeur service, has officially launched in Melbourne.
The company, which is backed by high profile tech investor Simon Hackett, offers “luxury transfers” from point-to-point, with a total of 12 cars on the road, now including Tesla’s Model X SUVs.
Evoke founder and CEO Pia Peterson said the expansion into Melbourne was made in response to customer demand, in particular from locals who used the company’s service in Sydney.
“We soft-launched in Melbourne in November last year, which was a bit of a baptism of fire because of Melbourne Cup day. It took our driver two hours to get into Flemington, which was the longest unplanned wait we’ve ever had,” Peterson said.
“It is great to now provide them with comfortable emission-free transport at both ends of their journey.
The journey has not been an easy one for the company, with the Australian chauffeur-driven car industry shaken up by the arrival in Australia of commercial ride-sharing services such as Uber, Lyft and Ola.
“There’s also the issue of charging our vehicles quickly in order to make the biggest difference by keeping our fleet on the road,” said Peterson.
“When we started, there were very few options for us to quickly recharge our vehicles but as technology has progressed this situation has improved, although when Tesla removed supercharger access for commercial vehicles, this presented us with a problem in Melbourne – one that we are still working on.”
Nonetheless, Evoke has recorded strong growth in a shrinking industry sector, with its fleet of Tesla vehicles coverig more than 1.8 million kilometres of emissions-free motoring and avoiding the need for more than 230,000 litres of petrol.
Evoke is now considering expansion to Brisbane, Adelaide and perhaps New Zealand.