Looking to give Tesla's Model S a spin, but can't quite afford one (despite the company's new financing option)? Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh's Downtown Project may have you covered, presuming you visit Las Vegas. The Downtown Project just launched Project 100, a program it calls a "complete transportation system" for getting around without having to own a car — and the company purchased a fleet of 100 Model S sedans to be part of the initiative. This marks the biggest single Tesla purchase thus far. This comes about a month after reports that Hsieh was planning to buy 100 Teslas for a Zipcar-like service in Las Vegas began circulating; while his plans are arguably more ambitious than a simple car rental service, the original report wasn't too far off the mark.
Project 100 will also include more than 100 shared bikes, 100 shared cars, and 100 shared bus stops, all for one monthly fee. Details on Project 100 are slim so far, but the program will launch in an invite-only beta over the next few months. As it appears to be a fairly unique program, Project 100 hasn't nailed down pricing yet (it is estimating that the subscription fee will be less than $400 per month, which it believes represents an average car payment plus insurance), but beta testers will be able to arrange travel through a smartphone app. As noted in the FAQ, Project 100 hopes to use that app to offer several options for getting around:
The experience is simple: open an app so we know where you are and tell us what zone you want to travel to. With that information we’ll give you a set of options, for example, 1 – Be picked up by a driver in a Tesla in 3 minutes, 2 – Drive yourself in a low range electric vehicle that’s 0.2 miles away, 3 – Grab a bike that’s 0.1 miles away or 4 – Hop on the party bus that will be near you in 4 minutes.
While the Teslas are probably the flashiest part of the system, Project 100 admits there will be lots of situations in which it isn't the most practical option, so it'll be investing in smaller, lower-power vehicles as well — but everything will be electric. The idea of a multi-option, all-inclusive transportation system certainly is a forward thinking one, but we imagine Project 100 will need to make it very clear to potential users how it works — we'll be watching over the coming months to see how it develops.