New Tesla-Only Black-Car Service Launches With Hollywood Pedigree
Morgan Freeman's driver Robert Gaskill has co-founded Motev to provide green rides with rates starting at $115 per hour; Freeman is currently the service's sole investor.
Why Uber to the Emmys in a Prius if you can take a Tesla?
Just in time for awards season, Motev, a boutique black-car service in Los Angeles, has launched with an all-Tesla fleet of four S and seven X models. All are fully loaded and equipped with Ludicrous mode, which can accelerate the cars from zero to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds.
Not that Motev drivers will be allowed to enable Ludicrous on the job. Safety is paramount, says co-founder Robert Gaskill, who hatched the idea for the company with entrepreneur Abe Pollister in February. "We went with Tesla because of its safety record, technology and because it's an exciting brand for clients," Gaskill tells THR, adding that the Palo Alto, Calif.-based automaker doesn't offer deals for buying in bulk (a Model X P100D starts at $135,500) but is aware of the service and trained its drivers.
In addition to ongoing screening and education, Motev chauffeurs (outfitted with custom-tailored uniforms from Robeaux Switzerland) must hold a Class B commercial driver license, receive Red Cross CPR/AED certification and pass California's security-guard licensing exam. And Motev has partnered with Aecon Global Security Consultants to provide executive protection as an add-on service. Luxury touches include aromatherapy towels and Pinch Provisions' Hemergency and Shemergency Kits for last-minute touch-ups before a red-carpet event.
Chauffeurs also must sign nondisclosure agreements, given Motev's VIP passengers. That's a clientele with which Gaskill is intimately familiar, having served as Morgan Freeman's production driver for more than 20 years. Says the actor, for now Motev's sole investor (the company declined to specify the amount), "I was impressed by the desire to create a meaningful enterprise that provided a much-needed green service."
Rates start at $115 an hour, with a two-hour minimum, though discounts are offered for booking multiple vehicles or extended periods of time. Zone-based flat rates to and from LAX also are available. Rides must be reserved in advance at Motev.com, by phone or on the Motev app (available now on iOS and coming soon to Android), but the company hopes to scale to on-demand service, in addition to expanding to other cities and even providing transportation among those locations for flying-averse execs. "We want to motivate people to think about zero emissions, sustainability and respectful living practices," says Gaskill, "and [riding a Motev] is one of the easiest and safest ways to do it.
This story first appeared in the Sept. 23 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.