In his early forties, smiling and casual, Manuel Chaufrein has spent his career in the transportation and mobility fields.
His first student job was on board a double decker bus: « I was a tourist guide on the vintage red busses in London, he says with humour. It was my first experience of transportation issues. » Swapping his guide cap to finish his studies with a master’s degree in international marketing at the ESSEC business school, he joins PSA Peugeot Citroën where he will spend 16 years, first as expatriate in Scandinavia before returning to France. « I was working at PSA Peugeot Citroën when the French Government released the largest ever tender for the roll out and purchase of electric vehicles. During this period, the city of Paris and the Greater Paris region wanted to reduce traffic, bearing in mind environmentally and economic purposes. They were looking for a vehicle manufacturer that was able to offer such a vehicle, and able to design a carsharing management system ».
Six consortiums are created, and Manuel Chaufrein co-ordinates PSA Peugeot Citroën’s integration in two of them. Even if the Bolloré Group wins the AUTOLIB tender, he acquires, as PSA project manager for AUTOLIB, a vast expertise on electric vehicle roll out issues and especially understands that a new era for mobility was about to be born. Depletion of fossil fuel energy, pollution issues...
The need to go for clean air will drastically impose changes to transportation schemes and it has already started with stakeholders such as ÜBER and Lyft, and with the digitalised shared mobility business model ( ÜBER Pool, Blablacar...).
And it is without hesitation that Manuel Chaufrein starts his own company after leaving PSA. He develops a 100% electric solution, premium and high-end oriented: a Premium electric vehicle private-hire chauffeured service, collecting clients from the airport, zooming to railway stations and in inner cities.
"Intermodal" journeys in a continuous mobility process, fully environmentally friendly, help customers discover all the advantages of 100% electric vehicles: silence, easy to drive, comfortable, clean, access into Low and Ultra Low Emission zones and connectivity.
No sooner said than done! VIPAIR-e was born in 2012. A small fleet of electric vehicles (Citroën, Nissan, Opel, BMW), luxury chauffeurs, and a matching clientele: top-models, box office actors, CEOs, DJs with atypical hours, and extremely high service level requirements.
Unfortunately, taxis drivers grumbling demonstrations against innovative mobility services changed the game. Conventional taxi drivers considered that the innovative digital private-hire services represent direct competitors and they requested more protective regulations. Regarded as a too innovative threat to them, VIPAIR-e mobility service had to evolve, and Manuel Chaufrein decides to carry over the mobility offer to Brazil and create a subsidiary there: PlugGo Mobility S/A. « Brazil is an ideal platform to develop VIPAIR-e : São Paulo, Latin America’s New York, is a sprawling megacity facing spectacular traffic jams at peak hours and major air pollution challenges. The richest hire helicopters to fly to their meetings in town! Sao Paulo offers a wealthy clientele that not only wants easy mobility solutions but also wants to benefit from a range of additional services on top, theatre tickets, luxury goods, flight and trips...»
« PlugGo ("connected" both literally and figuratively) will be a luxury consumption web platform, with 100% electric vehicles: customers will have the choice between chauffeured services, the delivery of a carsharing vehicle in front of their door, and once at destination, the possibility to drop the vehicle in town. We will work with BMW i, because for Brazilians, the BMW is perceived as a Ferrari in Europe. The dream car, the ultimate luxury symbol. »
And what about France then?
VIPAIR-e is staying of course and it will specialise in consulting services.
« Following my experience at PSA, I had worked with all the major stakeholders of tomorrow’s complex transportation ecosystem: vehicle manufacturers, robotics engineers, charging infrastructure designers, transport operators, end-users and customers. We are also fully knowledgeable about the leading-edge Research and Development made on driverless autonomous vehicles. Tomorrow, the self-driving car will no longer be science fiction but real and fully available. Google’s striking announcement of the Google Car hitting the road in California is only the beginning. Other stakeholders work on the design and manufacturing of self driving vehicles and shuttles, equipped with complex systems with GPS, lasers, obstacle detection systems, supervision and tele-operation softwares, that will self-drive and cover areas currently not served by public transport, thus answering the “last mile” mobility issue. »
Manuel Chaufrein offers to place his expertise at the service of companies and organisations willing to set up innovative transport solutions. Transport operators, industrial areas, cities, territorial municipalities, airport designers engaged in sustainable mobility…
For them VIPAIR-e designs made-to-measure solutions.
« We can support our client throughout the entire project process. Identification of needs, opportunities, feasibility studies, market surveys... We are able to aggregate competences; bring in the right robotics engineers, the right automotive engineers, bring in the right partners, and help our clients avoid pitfalls and difficulties. »
December 1973 : birth and son of a father from Guadeloupe and a mother from the Loire Valley.
1994 : Begins his career as a tourist guide on a double decker bus in London.
1995 : Master of Science in Applied languages English and German, European Economy and Law at Nanterre Paris X France and Westminster University London.
1997 : ESSEC business school France and International marketing master of science at the Fachhochschule Regensburg Germany.
1998 : Expatriation in Scandinavia for PSA Peugeot Citroën.
2010 : Appointed Autolib project manager for PSA Peugeot Citroën.
2012 : Founds VIPAIR-e Premium Mobility Services.
2013: First driverless autonomous vehicle projects in Europe and Singapore
July 2014 : Founds PlugGo Mobility S/A in Brazil.
June 2015 : Furthers driverless autonomous vehicle projects in Europe and the USA.