Tourism can put a lot of stress on local environments. For example, tourism is responsible for about 5% of global CO2 emissions. The transportation sector is responsible for roughly 75% of these outpourings. While air travel is by far the largest polluter, buses and cars also share some responsibility. Portuguese start-up Live Electric Tours wants to alleviate the stress tourism causes on the environment while allowing you to still move freely through cities. And most importantly, share times with your nearest and dearest, no matter how far away they are.
This start-up offers tourists a fleet of 100% Electric Twizy cars for urban road trips. The user has complete freedom in exploring the city, being able to take their time during their adventures and stop whenever they want. They also provide tours with predetermined routes with a GPS audio guide on fully-electric vehicles so you are able to enjoy your travel time with maximum comfort and efficiency.
Yet most importantly, all their cars are equipped with video cameras so you can live stream you travels online. Mobility, sustainability and connectivity – all in one place.
Djalmo Edgar Gomes, Founder and CEO of Live Electric Tours, talked with us about the start-up and its challenges.
What was the motivation behind the creation of LIVE Electric Tours?
Well, Live Electric Tours was born out of a need to create an innovative solution for tourist mobility that would generate the least social and environmental impact on cities which have become congested due to a huge growth in tourism. We wanted to create a new way of getting to know your way around cities for this reason. On the one hand, pollution free; and on the other, a response to a trend from a new breed of tourists who want to stay connected and share their experiences online. The combination of all these brought about Live Electric Tours, the first solution for tourist which combines mobility, sustainability and connectivity.
Why is Live Electric Tours important?
Live Electric Tours is relevant when it comes to tourism in Portugal. Aside from still being quite a small start-up, every year it contributes to the mobility of thousands of tourists in the cities of Lisbon, Porto and Évora. We are an alternative to a target group that visits a city and who do not want to deal with public transport, guides or group tours. Our solution is for those who are looking to feel free and own their own vacations.
What is the technology of the cars?
Our cars are highly technological. We took an ordinary Renault Twizy and totally transformed these wee cars, and we included hotspots in order to be able to share the internet with anyone nearby the car. Plus a GPS with a predetermined tour with more than 30 points of interest. In addition to all of this, we have a virtual tour-assistant in various languages which provides plenty of tips on the best things to do and places to visit in Lisbon. And finally, all of our cars have something unique in the world – a camera – which allows users to share their experiences of discovering the city with their friends and family live on social media. This is where we take an experience to another dimension. So you are able to explore Lisbon, Porto or Évora and at the same time share these sounds and images with friends.
Plus, all our cars are 100% fully-electric and emit no CO2 whatsoever.
What makes the start-up stand out from the pack?
Live Electric Tours distinguishes itself from other start-ups in its ability to make things happen. Given all the challenges of launching a start-up, we were able to put forward other arguments so as to distinguish ourselves from the competition. Having such a unique product in the world makes us a company that thinks outside of the box.
What has been the biggest obstacle that you have had to overcome during this process?
The main obstacle has always been human resources. Hiring is not an easy task for a start-up at a time when the unemployment rate in Portugal is really low.
Was there a moment in where you thought of giving up?
Giving up was never an option. However, in the beginning when we were taking the initial steps and looking for investments, getting to the end of the month and then having to pay salaries – when the company wasn’t generating any money – were frustrating moments that we overcame with a lot of resilience.
What has been the most gratifying moment?
Well, we have managed to open in 3 cities in just 2 years which was very rewarding, as expanding Live Electric Tours means presenting this experience to new customers. However, our greatest achievement was when we were considered the best tourism start-up in Europe by the European Commission in 2018. That was a huge acknowledgment for our efforts.
How does the future look like for Live Electric Tours?
The coming years are challenging because we want to reach every city in Europe with a futuristic solution for tourist mobility. Subsequently, year after year we have to work hard to make it happen and reinvent our concept. Nonetheless, in the next 5 years we want to be in more than 30 European cities and eventually expand to other continents.
What is your ultimate goal?
The ultimate goal is for Live Electric Tours to be recognized worldwide as a tourism super brand, something everyone wants to experience when deciding to go on holiday.