E1 Transit's Tesla S90D model electric vehicle, May 25, 2016. (Photo by Samuel Gallant, Blackburn News)

Tesla Limo Service Shows Off Fleet

The co-founders of a London start-up that offers rides between London and Toronto in electric vehicles showed off their fleet on Wednesday.

E1 Transit currently has two Tesla S90D models which will start carrying passengers between the two cities on June 1. The cars are out of the financial reach of many Londoners, but co-founder of E1, Han Yi, wanted to change the expensive electric travel stigma. His idea was to make a system of inter-city transit, starting with the travelling between London and Toronto. Labelled as a “door-to-door” service, E1 wants to make the experience as enjoyable as possible.

Han can’t help but smile when describing his operations plan.

“It’s quiet, it’s safe, and it’s managed by a professional driver,” Han says. “We come to your door. We try to bring that one stop experience to travel.”

He adds his idea started not only because of a desire for a more efficient transit system, but to truly make a difference.

“It came from me thinking that I was often finding myself frustrated in things that are big scale that I had no chance to change, like world issues or politics. And then from there I started to really think about how we need strong companies to bring people together to solve those problems,” he says.

But Han couldn’t do it alone, so he contacted Christopher Misch. A man already steeped in the electric transit industry, Misch had co-founded Sun Country Highway, a company that provides charging stations for electric vehicles. Misch was immediately attracted to the idea of an electric transit company.

“When Han and I got together and had a chat about creating the first sustainable transit system, which there was a real gap in Canada and globally, I said, ‘you know what, I got to get into this’,” says Misch.

The team building had begun, with Han conceiving the idea, and Misch having the ability to put it into motion. Misch believes that this concept extends far beyond Canada.

“The end goal is 100 percent sustainable transportation network, globally,” he says. “Every single country, every single major city, on the globe.”

With the debate in London over ride sharing services like Uber fresh in their minds, the team sat down to discuss what needed to be done to ensure that all aspects of the company were above board and completely legal. E1 Transit officials say they have a limo licence, all the appropriate insurance, and cameras in the cars.

Jordan Sojnocki, a co-founder and head marketer for E1, was surprised to see how pro-active the team was in dealing with any potential issues.

“There’s many challenges that I personally would have faced, but the great thing about E1 Transit is that they put together a crazy team,” says Sojnocki. “We have people of many different skills. We sat down and figured out what our challenges would be first. Scalability, a lot of logistics, dealing with a lot of municipalities. Those are the challenges we identified at the beginning.”

As head of marketing, Sojnocki is on the front line in dealing with the public. He says the potential is there and everyone knows it.

“I always joke around with the guys that this company is a marketer’s dream,” he says. “We got the clean, green phase, we have such a cool car, and transit is a really hot topic right now. A lot of the feedback we have seen posting on Facebook, getting the media kind of spinning, people are super excited to see a door-to-door option. People are really looking for something different when it comes to transit.”

While E1 currently has two Tesla Model S 90D cars in it’s fleet, it expects that number to grow quickly. The team also hopes to see service offered in more major cities in Canada as the demand increases.

**This story was written by Samuel Gallant. Samuel is a student in the Fanshawe College broadcast journalism program. He is performing a summer internship with Blackburn News.**