The addition of Tesla Model 3 electric vehicles to the fleet of ride-sharing company Get Picked Up is proving so popular that it has decided to increase its growing fleet from five to 100 over the coming year.
Get Picked Up (GPU) was started in 2011 as a “side hustle” by owner and founder Daniel Rombouts, before the arrival of Uber in Australia, and it now offers a “green” alternative, GPU Green. It has grown 700% in the last four years and now turns over around $6.5 million annually, according to Rombouts.
GPU Green, with services in Australia and overseas, offers mostly corporate transfers and airport customers the option to choose green transport when making a booking.
Much of its zero emissions fleet is privately owned. “At the moment we’ve got a number of contractors,” Rombouts tells The Driven. “Some have a Nissan Leaf, but mainly they are Tesla Model S.”
But the popularity of the new Tesla Model 3 among its customers is causing Rombouts to have a re-think, and he is now looking at growing the numbers of Model 3s from 5 to 100 over the next year.
“Rather than waiting for drivers to get them, we are going out and buy them ourselves and rent them out to drivers on a weekly basis,” he says.
“We are planning to get 100 over the next year or so and we’ve just purchased the first 5 which are available in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.”
It’s not just the clean and green that gets passengers interested. “It’s the high tech, it’s got a lot of features and it’s a bit fancy – we’ve never got that many comments about the vehicle,” says Rombouts.
Driver for GPU Green Tala Pupualii, who previously drove a Mitsubishi ASX for three years as an Uber driver, says he has also noticed the increase in comments from passengers driving one of GPU’s Model 3s.
“There’s a lot of people who are interested in the car,” says Pupualii. “The features, the smooth ride, the environmental perspective.”
“A lot of people recognise the car once they hop in, they say ‘I always wanted to have a ride in the Tesla’. It’s very exciting for a lot of people.”
It’s one of several unique offerings from GPU that the Australian company is using to distinguish itself in the highly competitive ride-share market.
It offers flat rates, for instance, which allows customers to avoid “surge-pricing” so frequently experienced by Uber passengers during peak times. And it offers driver ratings.
“From a customer experience perspective, when you rate the driver, if you rate above 4.5 or under, it either makes them your preferred driver or if you rate them low you’ll never see them again – this attracts the kind of drivers that want repeat customers.”
Bridie Schmidt is associate editor for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.