Looks like Luxe, the on-demand valet parking app, is adding a new partner to expand the services it offers alongside parking, potentially picking up more high-worth customers in the process. The company appears to be working with Tesla to offer car charging and other services for Tesla vehicles when drivers book parking through the app.
From what we understand, this is just stage. Later, according to our tip, the plan is for Tesla to preinstall Luxe in car dashboards, so that Tesla owners will have parking and other services offered by Luxe (such as car washes) as automatic options to choose as part of the bigger journey.
We first heard of this by way of a tip, but while we were reaching out to Luxe and Tesla for comment, we made a guess at the address for a potential website for Luxe and Tesla, and sure enough, here it is.
The partnership here is described as a pilot covering San Francisco and New York. To use it, you have to have the Luxe app downloaded and you let the app know where you are going before you leave your departure point or up to 100 miles from your destination. "You will then matched with one of our valets who will be there on your arrival to park your car for you in one of our secure parking lots," the company notes.
You can then also order whether you would like a charge as part of the service, along with other valeting options like a car wash (and whatever Luxe adds into the mix in the future, you can see what kinds of possibilities are there, such as services and tire checks). Luxe also offers overnight storage and drive-home options as it does for other car owners. It offers seven-day advance bookings and returns within 20 minutes.
Charges range from $15 for a 1 X EV charge plus parking cost, to a bundle of 5 EV charges for $65, plus parking cost. There are also larger subscriptions you can get in San Francisco:
This is an interesting development for Luxe, which has raised some $25.5 million to date from a long list of investors (and we've heard it may be raising more). While Tesla may have longer-term ambitions to make its gas-free cars affordable for the wider population, today they remain expensive (luxe, even) vehicles for the select few.
Luxe, meanwhile, may have hit on a great idea for everyone — who likes the hassle of parking, especially in crowded cities? — but for now it's most likely a nice to have cost for most, who pay a premium for the convenience it offers that starts at $5 an hour but quickly ramps up. Marrying the two businesses makes a lot of sense in this regard.
It also points to how Luxe may be looking to develop its business. It's adding more services beyond parking but to connect with more users, car partnerships seem obvious. As more car companies are looking for ways to sweeten the deal for connected car ownership, they are also looking for more services that will lure users. Luxe could be one of those. And if you integrate it with some of the mapping and other navigating and planning technology that is getting incorporated in these vehicles, it's adding a convenient perk to the experience.
Luxe, too, is amassing some interesting data on driver behaviour that could be put to good use. If companies like Uber want to be in the driver's seat when it comes to the transportation experience, or Google wants to control how you get there with its maps, then Luxe may be the one who will own what you do with your car when you get to wherever you are going.
We'll update this post as we learn more.
Update: Luxe has now also sent us the following statement, confirming the story.
This article by Ingrid Lunden originally ran on TechCrunch, a leading technology media property, dedicated to obsessively profiling startups, reviewing new Internet products, and breaking tech news.
We want to make parking and charging as simple as possible for Tesla drivers, and are currently partnering with Tesla to pilot EV charging and Luxe Subscriptions to San Francisco and New York Tesla drivers. The pilot is available to any Luxe customer who owns a Tesla and requests Luxe to park and charge it for $15 (in addition to the cost of parking). Upon having their car parked with Luxe, interested customers may simply tap on the Tesla charging icon and Luxe will charge the vehicle while it has possession of it. Tesla drivers interested in a Luxe Subscription ranging from $399 to $899 per month depending on location and needs, can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or go to http://luxe.com/tesla.