Electra, which aims to keep ‘your ride experience high and your carbon footprint low,’ officially launched in West Hartford on Earth Day.
By Kristina Vakhman
A new zero-emissions rideshare service in West Hartford promises to bring the town a step closer to a more sustainable future.
The startup, Electra Technologies, launched its West Hartford ventures on Earth Day, with Mayor Shari Cantor as its first passenger.
Residents can book rides in Electra’s Tesla vehicles through the company’s iOS app, which also has the distinguishing feature of showing them how much carbon emissions they saved during their zero-emission journey. Rides are free through the end of April.
Co-founder Kyle Bryan, who is a West Hartford native and Hall High School graduate, said that helping his hometown be more environmentally sustainable is his way of giving back. After a trip to Europe, where he said major cities had many more green and efficient transportation options, Bryan wanted to see West Hartford become a cleaner place, too.
“Having Electra in West Hartford is the first step to really focusing in on lowering emissions,” Bryan said. “This is a great starting point to reducing emissions and combating air pollution in the state.”
Bryan and co-founder Amanda Dyas created Electra through their passion for fighting climate change and cleaning up Connecticut’s air. The company also participated in Hartford’s reSET accelerator program.
Experts say the state has some of the worst ozone pollution in the New England area, with the Hartford-East Hartford metro area being one of the most polluted for ozone in the country.
Dyas, who also works in human resources, said that businesses and companies, including her own workplace, contribute to the carbon footprint and that Electra is hoping to partner with them to transport employees the green way.
“[My job] incorporates the planet in every aspect of our business, but we’re still shuttling people using car services that are gas-dominated,” Dyas said. “[Electra’s] mission is really to reduce carbon emissions one mile at a time.”
Tyler De Luca, vice president of development for Electra, said that what really makes the service stand out is that its drivers are strictly vetted and trained.
“They’re a bigger part of the business rather than someone who logs on for a couple of hours,” De Luca said.
Reducing business transportation emission is a part of Connecticut’s environmental efforts. The state’s Sustainable CT program includes “Clean and Diverse Transportation Systems and Choices” as a category for improvement, and West Hartford recently formed a Sustainability Advisory Group to tackle equitable and sustainable initiatives in the town, such as transportation.
Additionally, Electra’s launch comes at the same time that car-sharing and scooter-sharing programs were introduced in the downtown Hartford area.
Bryan believes Electra’s partnerships with corporations and other businesses will improve air quality, as they will finally have accessibility to zero-emissions travel.
“We want to hold businesses and corporations accountable for the emissions they produce and emit,” he said.
Bryan added that West Hartford is just the start for Electra. The company is looking to expand through the entire county and as far as New Haven, as well as to other sectors like university campuses, hospitalities and airports.
“Our ride service is really the starting puzzle piece to the smart city integrator that we are looking to become,” Bryan said.
Electra’s founders take their brand promise and commitment to helping the environment one step further: for every ride given in 2021, they plan to plant a tree.
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