NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – A new Nashville start-up has set its sights on becoming the next big name in rideshares. The big difference, they’re all about clean energy and only drive Teslas.

“We like to think of a black car service without the black car price,” said Raven Hernandez, founder and CEO of Earth Rides.

Hernandez is no stranger to Nashville. In fact, before even starting the tech company, she was successful. Growing up in Antioch with a single mother, Hernandez says she went to Lighthouse Christian schools for much of her childhood.

“I really just always was determined to change the narrative within my family and change the trajectory of my family,” said Hernandez. After graduating high school at 17, she went on to Lipscomb University for her bachelors degree and moved to Malibu, CA for law school at Pepperdine after that. But she quickly decided that she didn’t want to practice law, “I realized it wasn’t really on my health goals and my plan for my health.”

So instead she and her husband found a new path forward. She said, “We’re like lets do something we can both feel really proud about and also change others, change how other people live and make it better and so really that’s how Earth Rides was born.”

Together they started building the company, buying their fleet of Tesla cars, and planning for the future.

One important component to the company for Hernandez, was that it start in Nashville.

“I chose Nashville because it’s my hometown and I wanted to show that if ‘Hey we can do this in the South, we can do this anywhere in the United States. You know Los Angeles and Atlanta, they’re the number one market for Teslas.”

After beta testing in August and September the rideshare officially launched October 1, 2020. Instead of having contract workers, they have employees more like a livery service so drivers get an hourly rate, plus commission, plus tips.

Hernandez said fair living wages is important to the company. She wants to make sure that’s maintained and a focus as they continue to grow. “We really want to pour back into these people and into their lives because I know what it’s like to grow up in a single parent home and be struggling, and to have your mother be working at all hours so that you can have a better life.”

She also wants frontline communities to get a chance with clean energy options.

“The reason why we’ve kept our pricing down is because clean technology should be accessible to all. So frontline communities, going back to Antioch and having those areas have really competitive pricing to where it’s not a black car service. People all over Nashville, whatever your location whatever your income.”

As she plans for the future, Hernandez is looking at how to make the company work with all electric cars in Nashville when that infrastructure still doesn’t exist. She explained, “You know if I own 187 cars, where do they go? And more importantly, where do they charge? And so there are some things that we have planned, and we’re talking to builders, and we have renderings for what is the next phase because it’s not just Earth Rides.”

Before it gets there, she is just trying to improve the quality of life for people in Music City, in whatever small way she can.

“We have such a duty not only to ourselves but to my cousins. You know one of my cousins has asthma. What is an inhaler going to do? It’s not going to clean the air. I have to do, somebody has to do that, we have to do that. We can make changes in our air quality.” She continued, “My goal has always been health for me. What I want Earth Rides to do is make healthy cool again.”

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