(from the Cool Bus Magazine 2016/17 Winter Edition)
Regular readers of the Cool Bus magazine may remember an article we ran in our last issue entitled “Eco-Skiing” in which we highlighted some of the ways that we, and fellow ski industry brands are trying to do our bit minimise our impact on the environment. The final paragraph read as follows:
“Ultimately we are looking towards a day where we can viably use hybrid vehicles that run partly on electricity generated from our own solar panels. It may not be as far off as you think!”
Well just how soon that came around surprised even us!
A somewhat inebriated conversation with a Tesla employee during the early hours of a friends wedding in Barcelona last May planted a thought that resurfaced during the 8 hour drive back to Bourg St. Maurice the following day. A few hours of internet research in the office confirmed that the future of airport transfers might be just around the corner in the shape of Tesla’s brand new Model X due to be available at the end of 2016. This new vehicle was set to be the most advanced SUV on the market and with 6 passenger seats and a range of 300 miles it was certainly ticking all our boxes!
From a purely business point of view it made no sense at all. For the cost of one Model X seating 6 passengers Cool Bus could comfortably buy 3 Volkswagen Caravelles which would seat 24 people. The numbers simply didn’t add up but should it really all be about the maths?
Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last 10 years you will be aware that the temperature of our planet is increasing at an unnatural rate. The disastrous effects of this are already starting to show in many ways including an increase in freak weather events such as floods, hurricanes and droughts, rising sea levels and an acceleration in the species extinction rate across the globe. Ultimately if it continues unchecked we could be heading towards a day when our planet is no longer habitable for anyone.
It is now widely accepted that the main reason for this warming is the “greenhouse effect”, caused primarily by increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere as a result of human activity. The number one reason for these elevated levels of CO2 is the burning of fossil fuels and transport alone accounts for roughly one third of consumption. The bottom line is, if we want our planet to stay healthy one of the many steps we must take is to stop using cars powered by petrol, diesel and gas.
Tesla is a company that have taken this onboard and come up with a strategy to change our views on electric cars. Back in 2008 they came out with the Roadster, a sports car that radically redefined what was possible from a battery powered vehicle. In 2012 they produced the Model S, a luxury saloon which has sold over 100,000 units and is still available to buy. Both models were produced at a loss to the company due to the huge amounts invested in their research and development but the aim here was not purely to make huge profits but to change peoples perceptions of electric vehicles and give the car industry a much needed shove in the right direction.
Using the same philosophy we decided to take the plunge and order a Model X ourselves. Make no mistake, these cars are incredibly expensive but as soon as we test drove one it was clear to see why! It is quite simply the best car we have ever driven. The power and road handling is akin to that of a thoroughbred sports car.
Until you have travelled in a Tesla it is impossible to understand just how smooth the ride is. Regular cars genuinely feel old fashioned and clunky afterwards. Its like you are floating along silently above the road.
The Model X 90D is capable of hitting 60mph off the lights in just 4.8 seconds. The four wheel drive is electronically controlled to maximise traction. All you need to do is put your foot flat to the floor and the car takes care of everything else. Being reliant on a huge bank of batteries means these vehicles are certainly heavy but with all that weight situated just inches from the ground in the floor plan, the road handling is like nothing you have ever experienced. It is literally stuck to the tarmac.
Tesla have piled huge sums of money into the development of every single area of the Model X. With a battery range of over 300 miles, Tesla are lightyears ahead of the competition but it is so much more than this. The Model X is the safest SUV on the market. It has 20% lower drag than its nearest competitor. It features the largest panoramic windscreen in production. All Tesla’s feature the most advanced driver aids available in any car including collision avoidance, emergency braking and autopilot, all linked to a radar continuously scanning the road ahead. Even the air you breathe while driving is better quality than that outside thanks to its HEPA filters!
And then there’s the falcon wing doors! OK these might be a bit gimmicky but they do offer unbridled access to the two rear row’s of seats even from the tightest of parking spaces and they certainly turn some heads!
The ski industry is at odds with itself. One of the main reasons we love it is the pure joy of being in the high mountains, surrounded by imposing snowy peaks but many of the things we do to get on our holidays are implicit in causing the very issues that threaten it.
With this in mind we present to you our new VIP airport transfer brand, ZEAT (Zero Emission Airport Transfers). With the Model X retailing at well over 100k euros it is currently too expensive for us to realistically consider as a viable option for replacing the Caravelles in our Cool Bus fleet. As a VIP brand we can charge that little bit more for the luxury it brings with it and hopefully recoup some of the huge outlay for its purchase.
ZEAT bookings can be made via our dedicated website – www.zeat.vip. While the brand may be different the entire service will be run by the same team behind Cool Bus so you can rest assured that we have all the knowledge and experience at our fingertips to ensure you the very best VIP service. We will be offering transfers to all resorts in the Tarentaise from Geneva and Chambery. Our dedicated, smartly dressed driving team have many years of Cool Bus experience behind them as well as a wealth of knowledge about the local area.
Ideally we would love to see our Model X on the road every single day of the season to maximise its potential and reduce the carbon emissions of Cool Bus. As such we will be offering the ZEAT treatment to selected Cool Bus customers as an upgrade to their existing transfer for the low price of just 100 euros. In addition to this we will of course fill any of its empty journeys with our Cool Bus clients so if you are travelling with us in 2017 you might just get lucky and get the full VIP treatment for free!
The more people that get a chance to travel in it, the more people we can switch on to the potential of electric cars which might just help us as we all strive to eliminate the need for fossil fuels in the future.
The power for charging our new Model X will come from 3 sources. Firstly, the 21 solar panels installed on the roof of our depot in Bourg St. Maurice. Where this is not sufficient to supply all the charge necessary the remainder will come from our local grid which is sourced entirely through hydroelectric plants. In addition to this we will also use Tesla’s Supercharging station close to Geneva airport which is also fuelled entirely from renewable energy sources. You can therefore rest assured that all the kilometres covered by our Tesla will be done with precisely zero carbon emissions!
Watch out for a Tesla Model X creeping stealthily around a ski resort near you this season…