SAN FRANCISCO -- ExxonMobil is testing the potential of on-demand fueling.
The oil company has joined several other investors, including General Motors Ventures, in contributing toward $13.7 million in Series A funding for the on-demand fueling and vehicle-maintenance provider Yoshi. The San Francisco-based startup plans to use the funding to speed up its expansion from its five metropolitan markets to an additional 25 in the next year.
Yoshi supplies gasoline, oil changes, car washes and other maintenance services to customers where and when they need it. It operates in the San Francisco Bay area and Los Angeles, as well as Austin, Texas, plus Nashville and Atlanta. This February, Yoshi began offering services in Chicago, beginning with the Humboldt Park, North Center and Lincoln Park neighborhoods.
Besides providing its services to individual consumers, Yoshi has a business-to-business arm that fuels up employee vehicles in corporate parking lots. It also provides fueling for fleets such as rental cars, delivery-service vehicles, highway patrol cars and school buses.
ExxonMobil will supply Yoshi’s delivery service with fuel and lubricant products where available. Depending on the customer’s vehicle and preferences, this could include Exxon or Mobil regular or Supreme+ Synergy-branded gasoline and Mobil 1 and Mobil Super lubricants. ExxonMobil joins Royal Dutch Shell in testing on-demand fueling: Shell has been piloting its Shell TapUp on-demand fueling service in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, for the past several months.
“The on-demand economy is changing nearly every aspect of our everyday lives, including consumer expectations about the way fuels and lubricants are purchased, delivered and used,” said Adam Wariner, manager of fuels and lubricants innovation for Houston-based ExxonMobil. “We believe the simplicity and convenience of this direct-to-vehicle care service will attract new customers to Exxon- and Mobil-branded products.”
General Motors (GM), meanwhile, has been active in exploring the potential of the connected car through its Marketplace in-vehicle e-commerce platform. ExxonMobil and Shell are both vendors in Marketplace, through which drivers can locate their local Exxon-, Mobil- or Shell-branded gas station, check out its amenities and soon prepay for their fuel purchase.
“We’re constantly evaluating solutions to provide our customers with services that simplify their lives,” said Jon Lauckner, chief technology officer for Detroit-based General Motors Co., and vice president of R&D and president of GM Ventures. “Investing in Yoshi’s fuel delivery service allows us to pilot an innovative, premium experience for our customers, while integrating with the latest connected-vehicle technology already onboard Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles.”
Like other on-demand fueling services, customers order a fill-up from Yoshi via its smartphone app. However, the company is developing an offer that can be integrated into connected vehicles.
“In the future, when you buy a new car, you’ll be buying a self-fueling, self-servicing car,” said Nick Alexander, CEO of Yoshi. “Yoshi’s service will come built right in.
“We believe Yoshi has a big opportunity to be part of the transformation underway in the automotive industry relating to how vehicles get fueled and serviced, which can more than double a vehicle’s cost over its lifetime,” he said. “We could not have a better syndicate of investors supporting us, including the leading U.S. automaker and oil and gas company.”