The electric mobility space is receiving increased attention and the latest to join the race is Uber. The ride-hailing cab operator has made an announcement that it is planning to switch to electric vehicles from the fossil fuel ones. From a count of 350 electric vehicles now, there will be 1,500 electric vehicles over the next two years, according to the President of Uber India, Pradeep Parameswaran. He says the company wants to expand its operations in India and will be forging new partnerships in plying more electric vehicles not only in the four-wheeler category, but in the two-wheeler and three-wheeler categories as well.
Parameswaran says Uber is directly collaborating with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) as well as those in offering financial services, and startups engaged in developing innovative support technologies in the electric mobility ecosystem.
It is also understood that the technology to convert to electric mobility in the 2 and 3-wheeler segments is easier to develop and can be monetised quickly. In the case of four wheelers, the cycle is longer for the investment to start paying off.
Uber has adopted a strategy in a city like Chandigarh where it has tied up with SUN Mobility. Uberâ€™s partner offers swappable batteries. They also offer charging of vehicles of different makes.
The other association that Uber has, is in the case of cycles where it has tied up with Yulu, the e-cycle rental startup. There is a collaboration with Mahindra for EVs in the city of Hyderabad. All these associations will help Uber scale up its electric mobility offering in all three categories of vehicles.
With the government making it clear that it favours the switch to electric vehicles as early as possible and is willing to offer incentives and rewards to the manufacturers and customers, a number of companies are getting into the act.
Bajaj, Hero, Mahindra & Mahindra and Tata Motors are OEMs, while Bounce, Vogo, Yulu are some of the startups engaged in renting out electric vehicles of different kinds.
In the ride share business, Ola Electric is also committed to the electric mobility cause.
Uber India does not appear to have been seriously impacted by the slowdown in the Indian economy as the company says it handled 14 million rides a week in 2019 compared to 11 million in 2018.
From the financial perspective, Uber has already sold its food delivery business Uber Eats to Zomato and stopped the cash bleed.