Auto Pro Express Is An Affiliate

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Auto Pro Express Is An Affiliate

Rawlly "Young" Edwards owns a car repair shop in Marigot. He usually has more than one car he owns. But he recently was without a vehicle after selling his. So, while working on a family member's SUV we showed him our fleet of electric cars. He decided to rent one of our cars TWICE for his family to use before buying another vehicle! He also decided to make our cars available for rent to his customers in similar need. That means, even if your car needs work you'll still be able to get around town without sweating at all. Thanks to Young and Auto Pro Express

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Iconic Bikes That Will Electrify Your Visit!

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Iconic Bikes That Will Electrify Your Visit!

We have procured two wheeled electric fun for use in Saint Martin! Strictly for selfish reasons, we decided to get some really exciting vehicles that can be rented with insurance coverage. Vintage Electric Bikes is in California, making a few of these great devices by hand every year. Speeds fast enough to keep pace with traffic. So you don't have to worry about riding on any roads.

We have plans to get scooters to add to the fleet. However, we have not yet found the perfect electric powered version for the island. But we are doing testing with Genzee by Mahindra.

NOTE: We are talking to an electric vehicle mechanic that is reviving 15 year old Ford Ranger EVs with modern batteries and plugs. Some of his work is on the island of Hawaii. If you think your business on the island would be interested, please contact us.

June UPDATE: We have taken ownership of one Vintage Electric Cruz bike, seen below. Saint Martin can expect to see it whizzing around in the fall of 2016. We are considering a second one. Maybe we will try more than one type of two wheeled vehicle, if demand surfaces for them.

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Working Both Sides of the Island

Summer is coming. We incorporated on the French side of Saint Martin first, because you have to start somewhere. The ease of establishing the business is not the ease one finds in the USA, but if you are born here, and you have a bank account then things are less difficult. Getting a bank account is what we had to do first since my partner and I had neither worked or lived there for over 15 years.

Now we have a physical address, accounts and licenses after going through the bureaucracy with a plan for a service not seen in the Caribbean. Car sharing is worldwide, but not yet tropically known. The smartphone era is global, but most use them for sharing photos and checking responses after sharing the photos and videos. The phone in an average Saint Martiner's hand has more computer power than what got men to the moon. It is capable of performing bank transactions, broadcasting video live, organizing your agenda, or monitoring your home away from home. It IS a computer in your pocket and making calls is the smallest of its abilities.

We hope to show inhabitants our service works with something they're already familiar. Apps make internet actions easy. Correction: They make life's actions easy...or so they should.

Back to electric car sharing in Saint Martin. We have 7 cars on the island, registered and ready to drive. On the French side, we are finalizing the payment processing agreements. It appears not many businesses on thew island handle online payments. Also, the status of being French, but not in France makes for confusion with some of the providers.

The great thing about the internet is someone does what you want somewhere. They usually have competition too. Borders are an inconvenience when it comes to any online business. But it is a hurdle a bit of research can overcome. On the other side of the island, we are patiently waiting for the approval of our business application. We would not want to drive across the open border to find out that we cannot share our cars with everyone on the Friendly Island. We have to make sure what is seamless online is also so IRL (in real life).

We look forward to chatting with the banks on the Dutch side for expanding our transportation alternative to owning a car. I think everyone knows a good idea when they see one. The tipping point has arrived for electric vehicles. The world finally sees it. Car sharing is also the future of multimodal transportation in any urban environment. Driverless cars are within 10 years of dominating the market of moving people where there are no trains or trollies. We hope to be around for all of it throughout the Caribbean.

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Our Fleet Is 7 Strong! Want To Help Us Grow?

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Our Fleet Is 7 Strong! Want To Help Us Grow?

Our system is being checked and confirmed for easy use everywhere on the island. We are making sure all forms of electronic payment are compatible. We want the process to be as smooth as our vehicles on the road. We are making sure the upcoming soft opening later this month will be spectacular!

All of the effort to bring a new way to transport yourself in Saint Martin is eagerly anticipating all input and questions our future participants may have. So, if someone sent you this link, please check through the whole site. Read our previous blog entries for history on our creation. Send photos if you see our cars. Send requests of what you hope to accomplish using our service.

We expect personal use and business use alike will benefit sharing EVs. Everyone needs to get around, but not everyone wants to buy a car. Everyone travels, but only for a moment. We aren't all taxi drivers and couriers, but they can use our service too. Our locally grown service will employ citizens are interested in making island transportation more productive, pleasant and prompt. In cities where car sharing exists, for each car in the fleet 10 people give up owning. That means 10 less cars on the road causing traffic, polluting, and taking up parking spots.

With the phone in your hand and a credit card, we will make life more convenient than ever before in Saint Martin. Imagine less traffic while having access to set of different types of clean, quiet and quick vehicles. Need a van today and a compact car tomorrow? A 7 seater during Carnival? Make you reservation early and you are set! We will expand our fleet to other vehicle sizes as they become available on the market. Check our previous posts about those models.

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If It Was Easy, Everyone Would Do It!

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If It Was Easy, Everyone Would Do It!

Western nations have decided to move on the one hand toward cleaner ways of doing business. Renewable energy, non-petrol powered transportation and a move towards paperless versus paper filled government & workplaces. There is a realisation of limits to growth and resources. Economists now agree. Ecologists agree. The Pope agrees. So, why is change across all industries not a global phenomenon? Why are they only selling EVs in certain markets and not others? Why not offer subsidised solar in the tropics where it would be most effective? Why is fast internet only available in certain places?

We wondered for five years about these questions and more. It should be so easy to shift the market where it is small. Its easy to educate a few people. If the citizens decided that they wanted better for their community, all they needed to do was get their representatives to listen. Corporations would follow the lead of the market and government.

On the other hand western society is afraid of letting go of the past. It is more difficult to consider a better future than it is to fear a worse one. "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." French version is: "Un tien vaut mieux que deux tu l'auras." This 16th century proverb that works well for those in time of famine, before penicillin with less than a billion global population. Those were the days. Today is different.

We live in the Google era. It is easy to find and create information as well as cheap food. It is easy to compare, study and communicate. Opportunities abound for those who challenge the status quo. Research pays off in the end. Risk brings reward, if you know where to look. No matter what industry, if you pay attention to your surroundings as they change, you can benefit. The risk is actually in your head. It was put there in the 16th century.

Saying this out loud helps us realise that bringing EVs to an island where there has been no support by the industry is not actually risk. It is a calculated measure to kick start improvement for the people sharing the island. Share X Mobility is born from brainstorming using the 3 letter airport code. The X can be said as an "x" or considered a multiplication symbol or not said at all. Share mobility is what we are here to do with our best effort. It wont be easy. We are trying. We are excited to learn with you.

 

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Commercial EV rentals, here we come!

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Commercial EV rentals, here we come!

While looking for an electric pick-up truck that was on the market 15 years ago (Ford ranger EV),  I stumbled upon an interesting find. The vehicle is used by FedEx, UPS & Coca-Cola. It's called a Navistar EStar. A 16 foot van that can travel 100 miles per charge. Located in San Raphael California, it would take more time and money to bring it to the island than our other vehicles.

We believe this addition to the fleet will be an incredible asset to our mission of the electrification of transportation in Saint Martin. Our hope is to bring a more peaceful, less traffic snarled, cleaner shift for the people of the island and beyond. The neighbouring islands can use our template.

We decided to put the Kia Soul EV on hold until later in the year when we believe the availability will increase, the price will drop a bit, and we may have more capital. It is our luxury option for tourists in the fall. But as a company that will be shouldering total risk of bringing EVs to an island with no servicing available for them, we are relying on the fact that they need less than the ordinary. Actually EVs are not appealing to dealers for the specific reason that they need almost nothing in terms of maintenance.

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Five Car Start Up

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Five Car Start Up

Inspecting the cars before we put them on the boat as of this is posting. We are so excited to get rolling now that we have some initial funding and expectant customers ready to rent long term two of the five cars.

We are sourcing used i-Mievs from the USA. But we are also looking to France, the side of the island we are established, where they offer great incentives for buying new electric vehicles. Some EVs in Europe are not found in the USA. We hope to educate the island community with the pleasure of electric vehicles. Currently, no dealership here offers or services them. We hope to make connections with them in an effort to have servicing in the future.

The most robust battery technology currently in production is the i-Miev (since the 1999-2003 RAV4 EV is no longer manufactured). Since 2009 Mitsubishi has offered the car to various markets across the globe. Used as police cars and more, they are built for city driving. The extent of maintenance is cabin air filter and wipers. Not even rotating tires are needed!

Update: Feb 2016, we find that purchasing takes at least a month from inspecting to being placed on the boat at the port of Miami. Car dealers aren't familiar with exporting cars or wiring money. Nor do they assume you might be serious unless you have all of the info to complete the deal. If you try this on you own, be knowledgeable. 

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Filling out the Fleet & Your Pockets

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Filling out the Fleet & Your Pockets

We have begun raising funding. The acquisition of the fleet begins in January. We are looking forward to bringing the electric vehicle transition to the island. Clean, quiet transport adding to the appeal of the island as a destination. Building the charging system and parking options will coincide with the added EVs on the island. If you know of an ideal spot to place chargers, please contact us. We are searching for plug-in partners.

We will also facilitate those who want to purchase their own vehicles. The assistance will be with identical vehicles to our own, because we trust that they will be ideal for island life. Some EVs have maintenance or technical issues based on our expertise, that will pose problems to this locale. Of course, you can say that about any vehicles. Our technicians will be able to aid in charging installation and such if the need arises for our buyers.

Ideas are easy to come by. Execution of those ideas are why you will want Share X Mobility to help you get around easily in Saint Martin. We can make your rental process smooth, paperless, and fun. We can also show you a great to car to replace your current gas guzzler and keep the $80 to $100 weekly in your pocket. In one year and 7000 miles of driving, we spent $159. When we get solar panels, that will drop to $0 in a few years!

We have even made connections to electric bus and truck suppliers. We hope to create a driving experience where you only hear the kind greetings of the Friendly Island and the music of the ocean wind. We want SXM to be one of the first places to completely transition off of oil. New opportunities are ahead. Thanks for riding with us.

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Reservations Start in December!

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Reservations Start in December!

Starting tomorrow, Share X Mobility will be offering the 4 door, 4 seat Mitsubishi i-Miev electric car, capable of over 70 miles of travel per charge, on the 30 mile isle of Saint Martin! It includes air conditioning, bluetooth, reverse camera, CD/DVD player, fold down rear seats and a recharge time in less than 5 hours. Its faster than any gas car from a stand still, but traffic on the island is generally no faster than 50 kph (or 30mph). If you are tall, you'll have no problems in the front seats. Baby seat available upon request. 

Reservations can be made by phone or online form on the home page. We offer hourly, daily and weekly options with a minimum of 4 hours. Delivery is included in the fee structure. 

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November is Coming, Cars are too

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November is Coming, Cars are too

We appreciate the words of encouragement from our friends and family in establishing a new spin on an old service. We hope to improve things for the citizens of the island as well as set an example for others to follow, which is why this blog exists. A diary of the creation of a business.

Our next step is fund raising to acquire the fleet. In 2015, there are more than a few options. However, our experience is limited in this regard. So, we prepare to chat with VCs, loan officers and campaign organizing sites. This means our fleet could be anywhere from 3 to 30 cars of varied models selected based upon quality, utility and features.

Anyone that wants to know more about EVs should be aware that all batteries are not alike in operation. This plays the biggest factor in selection. Liquid cooled versus air cooled systems. Carbon fiber body panels and proprietary dealer installed software updates. Which cars have gotten recalled? Is leaving the car constantly fully charged or near empty harmful or beneficial?

If you are interested in assistance for your own purchase, then we will answer these questions as well as guide you in further analysis of the right choice. Until the dealers on the island begin to offer electric options, we wish to accelerate the access of knowledge in bringing the island into the post oil paradigm. The stone age didn't end because they ran out of stones. They found something better.

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Quest for Knowledge

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Quest for Knowledge

The season is soon coming. Looking forward to new experiences, connections, and partnerships. The creative juices are flowing. We want bring in the high-tech while keeping it simple and green. Funding is in its initial stages and we appreciate those who assist us in the endeavor. Whatever the circumstances, we will have EVs ready to rent. Fleet size is the only variable. 

Which leads to the reason for this post. Humbly we ask for a bit of your time to tell us what we can bring that would make our service your choice whenever you visit.

Driving on the island *
Driving on the island
Use neutral if you have no idea what to answer.
It is easy driving on the island
Traffic is tolerable
It is easy to navigate the island
It is easy to get around even without a car
We wont share any info. We promise. No answer is required here.

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Rewritten Plans & Possible Competition

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Rewritten Plans & Possible Competition

One of our partners is about to return from the island of St. Martin, pushing the business for an input of capital this summer. We are giving details on our vision to local accountants, investors, and executives, as well as government officials from neighboring islands. Good impressions made all around during carnival. We hope to speed up the creation of a sun powered headquarters along with a charging station on the opposite side of the island. We also noticed the possibility that Tesla's foray into battery sales may be useful to our cause.

During this short trip a fleet of 15 cabriolet EVs, by Bollore, were spotted. Called BlueSummer, they go really far each charge! They use different battery chemistry than all other car companies, which create the distance increase. But there's a catch; they MUST be kept plugged in when not in use in order to keep the batteries cool. A tropical use car that can't keep cool without constantly using energy!?! Well, this info still needs to be corroborated, but they haven't made too many of these vehicles for anyone to review yet. We wonder if they are being dropped everywhere in the Antilles. Please note: it may not be a good idea to drive onto the beaches as seen in Bollore promotional image above.

We look forward to having more EV exposure on the island. Comparison will give opportunity to differentiate ourselves from other services and features; like being able to start the air-conditioning from outside of the car! Imagine pre-cooling your car BEFORE getting in it! Our vehicle offerings will be diverse also. We've learned one size does not fit all.

UPDATE: May 11, 2015, we have found out that the BlueSummer fleet is headed for St. Barts. The shadow of competition is too far to cover us but still needs an eye on it. There's nothing stopping anyone's expansion anywhere except for lack of imagination.

They are also putting cars in Martinique.

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The Repair Factor

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The Repair Factor

As my partner plans for returning to St. Martin in less than a day, I research the financials that investors would want to see. I rewrite what may be the final version of the business plan. My parner finishes scheduling the events for our stateside business as well as our dinner plans for the first half of the week.

I internally debate if the Ford Transit Connect EV is fleet worthy versus importing a Nissan E-NV200 from Europe, since both are capable of carrying 7 passengers, with some minor modifications on the former. If an electric or battery issue shows up in either vehicle, the repair will be almost impossible in the Caribbean unless we do it ourselves. But the appeal of a 7 passenger vehicle will be hard to deny in the fleet. 

The wait for Kia Soul EV's release on the east coast is unbearable. Why they cautiously expose this car to regions of the US, I don't know. So many other EVs they should have learned from by now to know where people would buy them quickly. It makes me "compliance car" concerned. If you aren't sure of what that is, then Google this decade's RAV4EV and where it is sold and serviced. Hint: It isn't the whole of the USA. Just California. Drive it anywhere else and it's warranty is void. Non California Toyota dealerships won't touch it. It had its share of problems as well.

EVs are very tough cars and require little to no maintenance. The remote chance that any battery service would occur is a lottery winning chance. The long term battery replacement is 3 to 5 years away. We will plan it to be a DIY event as well.

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Sega & Tiana on TV

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Sega & Tiana on TV

Caribbean Life Season 3, Episode 9 is our story of moving from DC to St. Martin. We had to hide our involvement until it aired, which was last Sunday. We are so excited to bring something new to the island Tiana calls home. A better way to get around. A proven technology, that we use in the USA for work and personal driving.

Governmental licensing is complete on the French side. Having assembled our business plan and financials with professionals on the island, we're now looking at possible ways to gain capital for a small, five car start or a major establishment of 30 EVs of various types.

For those who are reading this hoping to rent a car, then please send any questions to songha@sharexmobility.com. Thanks for your interest.

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Available EVs in January 2015

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Available EVs in January 2015

Things have advanced in a few months for EV shoppers. A future customer asked us for assistance finding 2 vehicles for personal/business use. One car should make a statement and the other to fit in. So we decided to publicly explore options that may face anyone January 2015 in the Antilles. The driving is short distances and under 70 kph (43 mph).

Our dilemma in selecting what to use on a small island with big city traffic is not going to be limited by distance or charge time. It will be size, utility and comfort features. With our client, visual appeal will also be a factor.

First we inspected the high end BMW i3 and middle upper level MB B Class electric. Second we judged the mid level VW eGolf and Kia Soul EV. Lastly, was Mitsubishi i-Miev and VW e-Up.

The 2014 BMW i3 ($41k) was designed to be a departure from the norm. Carbon fiber body panels resists all rust and denting more than metal. But damaging them enough to need replacement will need specialists the island doesn't have. The back seat in this luxury car is not luxury in size. Calling it a 4 seater is being generous. The dash is all digital plus a few buttons. USB plug is included. As we stated, this car is a standout from business as usual. Push button start and keyless entry is optional but a feature that we like so much in our Nissan Leaf in the US, that we cannot imagine any future car purchase without considering this feature.

The 2015 Benz B Class electric ($34k) is a 5 person full size vehicle that will appear from inside and out, to be a standard car from this German producer. Fewer screens and many more buttons than BMW, the B Class has the classic feel of its nicer predecessors. This car is an undercover EV using Tesla batteries. Leather and proximity radar that slows the vehicle is available but keyless entry, push button start and a USB plug is not. A high end car without modern conveniences is a contradiction.

The 2015 VW e-Golf ($33k) is another German, 5 person carrier with push button start, keyless entry and a subtle difference in appearance to gas version. Nothing futuristic here. Good engineering we assume because its German. But if history is a predictor of future performance, then we cannot know what to expect from any offerings here but Mitsubishi, which has been making their sole EV offering for 5 years. A professional reviewer online really disliked this VWs problematic, grainy touchscreen. It has no USB plug.

2015 Kia Soul EV ($26k) is going to visually fit in due to the popularity of Kia cars in the Caribbean. A full 5 seater with all the features of above plus more. The size and utility of it I believe will make it a predictable hit anywhere. The only possible fault it has along with all of the others (but the i-Miev) is the fact that it is new and untested. 

2015 E-Up (£19.5k) is smaller, more modern, a bit more minimal than the e-Golf. It is the sole true competitor to the i-Miev, which has not changed in 5 years. This little car is only sold in the EU, and higher in price than i-Miev. Neither has push start, keyless entry or USB plug. It has an elegant design that is new. Its glass rear is similar to the BMW i3. 

2014 Mitsubishi i-Miev / Peugot iOn / Citroen C-Zero ($22k/£25.5k) are the same car under different badges. It is the most basic of cars, but with a standout design that as we continue to drive it, constantly get questions & compliments. The Info/Entertainment includes USB, Bluetooth, DVD, SD player. Having the oldest design means also the shortest travel distance of 65 miles/100 km. Rear folding seats give great cargo space in this 4 door, 4 seater. Twisting roads at speed make the car lean a bit.

Mitsubishi has the only car without an app to monitor the vehicle's battery or activate the air conditioning in advance. However, this may not matter since it is uncertain if this communication based service will be offered in places where the car is not. The i-Miev does come with an actual remote which can operate the same functions up to 300 feet away. 

ALL EVs HAVE:

  • instant torque and are faster than gas cars from a stand still
  • solid and stable grip of the road
  • no wheel spin in slippery conditions and therefore perform similar to 4 wheel drive
  • narrower tires for more fuel efficiency
  • no spare tire
  • a portable cable to charge from a standard outlet
  • little to no maintenance except for tires, wipers or filters
  • no effects on performance from extreme tropical weather
  • warranties between 8 years & 100,000 miles
  • greater efficiency in traffic versus high speed driving, the opposite of gas cars
  • no pollution / emissions
  • brake pads that last 3 to 5 times longer due to regenerative braking
  • less electricity consumption than plugging in a refrigerator when charging
  • batteries charged in less than 5 hours at 220v outlet

 

 

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The End of 2014. The Beginning of Current Car Company.

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The End of 2014. The Beginning of Current Car Company.

The amount of paperwork and governmental processes are almost finished. We hope to complete it in the next week, when we return to the island after spending 6 weeks stateside. We have verified our financial/bank status, as well as our partnership roles in Current Car Company. A hassle free car rental and car sharing company which also sells imported EVs. Based online, we will accept reservations and scheduling in advance via an upcoming app for mobile devices. We will also take them at the soon to be built website in 2015.

Our model for service will be comparable to Silvercar, a US based paperless car rental system, and Zipcar, a paperless carshare system. Both are known for exemplary customer service. We do this with the hopes of changing the status quo of each adult owning a car, adding to the gridlock and pollution on the island.

When real-time ride sharing comes around, we would like to be a part of it as well. Uber, Sidecar or Lyft like services on the island would be useful. It would reduce governmental need to regulate taxis and put that money in the hands of the consumer and businessperson, which could be ex-taxi drivers.

For a small island, smaller, clean cars would be a good start. Fully occupied, bigger, clean shared vehicles would be even better. Here's looking to the future of quiet, clean intra-island travel that could be copied across the Caribbean.

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