OHPEC wants to transform the land passenger transport landscape in New Zealand to being mostly 100% electric vehicles over the next several years. We can make it cheaper and quicker, more comfortable and more convenient than travelling now, whether using private or public transport. All our drivers will earn a decent income. We can significantly reduce traffic and travel times. We can make our cities less polluted, quieter and more people friendly.
If you like that vision then keep reading.
On Oct 1 2017 OHPEC started operating as a 100% electric Small Passenger Service in Auckland. We are mainly using Tesla Model X vehicles. Our service is priced cheaper than the average taxi and is often competitive with Uber. At various times we offer a service priced the same as Uber.
We will have 5 vehicles in November and 8 in December. The remaining 2 months of 2017 will determine whether OHPEC continues to expand, or shrinks. This decision will be a financial one based solely on the financing and usage that we get. Our business model only requires that we get the same usage as the average taxi or Uber.
If we get the required financing and usage in 2017, we will expand to hundreds of vehicles in Auckland. We will then be one of the largest Small Passenger Service operators in Auckland. We will start to expand into the rest of New Zealand.
We will introduce a shared ride service in 6 and 7 seater Model X vehicles. Rides in these vehicles will be requested via a new app written for OHPEC. Passengers will specify the rides they require, which may be on a repeated basis, how many people they are prepared to share with, which people they prefer, which seat they prefer etc. The system will aggregate passengers from a common origin going to a common destination. It will drive directly from the pickup to the destination as a door-to-door service. The cost will be split between the passengers. What would have cost $60 for a 20 minute trip if travelling alone, will cost about $10 if shared with 5 other people.
OHPEC will request, and in a sane world would be granted, access to bus lanes. This service will significantly reduce congestion and perhaps even more so than buses can now do. This is because people who currently drive their own vehicle, or are using Uber or a Taxi, will find it cheaper, quicker, safer, and more convenient and productive to travel with OHPEC.
We will have thousands of vehicles around New Zealand and be the largest Small Passenger Service in New Zealand. We will have Tesla Model 3 vehicles priced cheaper than Uber or any other Small Passenger Service, and therefore we will be the cheapest service in New Zealand.
We begin to transition some of our vehicles to a fully autonomous service. This service will be cheaper than private transport, and most public transport. The actual price will depend on the cost of the dispatch system provided by Tesla. This should mean that the cheapest, never mind most convenient, comfortable and safe, land transport option in New Zealand will be 100% electric.
5-10 years out
Tesla intends to manufacture a fully autonomous electric minibus. With a vehicle about the size of a Model X you can comfortably seat 12 people. With a vehicle only slightly longer than a Model X you can comfortably seat 16-24 people. They will travel on highways nose to tail. They can safely travel much faster than if a person was driving. The average peak time passenger vehicle carries 1.2 people, follows about 2-4 car lengths behind the vehicle in front, and averages about 50 km/h due to congestion. A minibus can carry 10 times as many people, in 1/4 the space, at 2-3 times the speed, giving at least a 100-fold increase in carrying capacity. Such a system will be the quickest, cheapest and most convenient door-to-door transport available, by far.
This has 3 profound effects on our cities:
1) Minibuses will be the preferred form of transport by most commuters. Commuters will choose to no longer use full sized buses or rail. This means that the passenger rail infrastructure will be mostly redundant. We should stop planning for, and building, rail systems now. Motorways are also massively overbuilt for what will be needed in the future. We should stop planning to widen motorways now. We should stop planning new intracity motorways now.
2) Cities will no longer need parking on the streets as most commuters will no longer use their own vehicles. Street parking will be replaced with dropoff/pickup lanes. Separated cycle lanes will be on most streets. Excess road space will be reclaimed for public space. Our cities will be quieter, less polluted, more accessible and safer.
3) Satellite towns will grow and less people will move to the major cities. When a commuter can travel 50-100 km in the same time it takes to commute from a city suburb to the CBD now, they will move to cheaper and more desirable homes in outlying towns. This means that intercity highways are required rather than intracity highways. This also affects city housing and infrastructure plans in general.
What will actually happen?
Organisations responsible for planning our transport systems are ignoring this future. They are investing billions of dollars in projects which will be mostly idle in 10 years. Cities and countries elsewhere in the world are moving in the right direction. New Zealand is not.
Existing taxi companies are not moving in this direction, but OHPEC is. You can support the move to a sustainable, fairer, non-polluting, cheaper, quicker and more convenient passenger service for Auckland and New Zealand. You can support a move to a much less congested city and country. Or you can support the status quo. It is up to you.
What did actually happen?
OHPEC was actively prevented from charging their fleet of vehicles by Tesla. As can be seen on our FYI page, Tesla has made it impossible for OHPEC to achieve what it wants to achieve using Tesla vehicles. None of the agencies responsible for transport supported us. The government chose not to support or use OHPEC. There is no public charging infrastructure to allow OHPEC to operate, and no plans to install it. We will have a fossil fuel autonomous future, with more congestion, more emissions and lack of public control, unless this situation changes.