The Canadian startup InOrbis transports travelers between Calgary and Edmonton using Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles — echoing the business models of similar startups such as Tesloop and Tesla Shuttle. The company was founded by Rosario Fortugno, who answered some questions for CleanTechnica.
How many electric vehicles are in your fleet?
The fleet is small but growing. We have 8 Teslas in service right now, hopefully up to a dozen by the end of the year.
What is the breakdown in terms of Model X, S, 3?
Right now the fleet is all Model S and X, three are Model X and the others are Model S. We have a few Model 3s on order and they’re expected before the end of 2018.
How many did you start with?
We started with one company-owned Model X in May of 2017.
How did you get your ride service off the ground?
The original idea for the service started in 2015. I was working as an electrical engineer and was traveling 15–20 hours per week to different sites. The lost productive time was starting to bother me and I knew there had to be a way to help others regain that time.
At the time, I was following the development of Tesla’s Autopilot system and the release of their first 500 km range vehicles.
I wanted to combine my knowledge of EVs with my desire to start a company that could help return the millions of productive hours lost in transit. Plus, I really wanted to own a Tesla.
InOrbis is the result of 3 years of development, from building the software to manage the booking and logistics for an intercity fleet, to raising the capital to purchase our first vehicles. We’ve gone through incubator programs, pitch competitions, and multiple pivots. The model has changed but the vision remains constant: provide a service that enables productivity, sustainability, and luxury for intercity travelers.
How long did it take you to go from concept to launch?
I’ve been building the business model since 2015 and took it through several iterations and pivots before I was able to raise the capital to buy the company’s first vehicle. We officially launched in May of 2017 and have been operating in Alberta ever since.
The model is simple: Provide the most convenient city-to-city transportation service to business travelers, enabling productivity on the go in sustainable luxury.
What is your roadmap for the next 3–5 years?
The intercity market has remained largely untapped. Flying short distances (under 400 km) is inconvenient and requires as much time as driving. Although full-self driving (level 4–5 autonomy) cars are right around the corner, they’re not here yet. The goal for InOrbis is lofty, we aim to be the go-to option for short-hop business travel in North America.
Our one-year roadmap has us expanding to 10 city-pairs by the end of 2019 including other Canadian provinces (BC and Ontario) as well as 1–2 US city pairs.
In 5 years, we want to operate in the 100+ city pairs that are poorly connected by public transit and have more than 100,000 trips between them each year.
Do you have your own chargers for your vehicles, or if not, where do you charge them?
We’re building a network of solar-powered charging stations that will offer public charging access. We’re also looking into the possibility of creating our own Supercharger stations if Tesla is willing to partner with businesses to create them.
How many miles have your EVs driven collectively so far?
Collectively, the EVs in our fleet have exceeded 400,000 km.
Will you expand into other provinces or cities?
Yes. Our goal is to be in at least two other provinces by the end of the year.
How many employees do you have now?
We have four full-time employees and 9 drivers.
What do your customers most like about your service?
Here are some quotes from our customers:
“Can’t say enough about this service. Such a smart idea and great business! It’s super convenient, excellent value, and a much better way to travel. Wonderful, professional experience from start to finish, and worth every penny.”
“Convenience of door to door. Avoid airport security, delays, and rental cars. Maximizing work productivity. Great alternative to flying or taking the bus. Would drive myself if I didn’t have work to do.”
“Punctual service, nice drivers, and cool cars. Every time I’ve used them the experience has been great and we’ve gotten where we needed to go with ease and comfort. What more can you ask for?!”
What is your favorite Tesla vehicle?
Currently released: the Model X — it’s incredibly really versatile, works well for families and can carry a lot of stuff. Plus, there’s nothing like driving in and opening up the falcon wing doors. Although, the Model 3 is an amazing car at about 1/2 to 1/3 the cost of the S and X, so it’s definitely my pick if there’s a budget in mind.
Upcoming: really excited about the Roadster 2020 with 1000+ km range and seeing this battery tech integrated into Tesla’s other vehicles.
Why did you to choose to work with Teslas?
EVs offer several advantages over traditional (ICE) vehicles. Lower maintenance and energy costs allow us to offer this type of city-to-city service with a cost that is competitive to flying or even taking an intercity coach.
Additionally, Tesla is the only mass-market provider of long-range EVs. Teslas provide the safety, luxury, and technology that enable our business model.
Image Credits: InOrbis. 1st photo: Fortugno with Richard Branson