Uber is reportedly working with a number of automotive companies to design and build dedicated electric vehicles for its ride-hailing and delivery services, as revealed by The Wall Street Journal.
The company’s CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, said during an event held in Davos, Switzerland, that Uber wants to make vehicles optimized for city use, ferrying passengers and deliveries, with the ultimate goal of reducing costs.
Khosrowshahi went on to say that for Uber’s needs, an EV doesn’t have to have a high top speed or impressive acceleration times and that a ride-hailing vehicle could have an interior where passengers can face each other.
“I do think that top speeds, for example, that many cars have are not necessary for city driving that’s associated with ride-share,” Mr. Khosrowshahi said. “That can reduce the specs and if you reduce the specs you can reduce the ultimate cost.”
When it comes to delivery EVs, Uber’s CEO said that the company is considering smaller, two or three-wheeled vehicles that would have a smaller footprint but a big cargo area.
“[They] can get through traffic easier and have a much smaller footprint, both in terms of environmental but also traffic footprint than, let’s say, a car to go deliver groceries,” he said for The Wall Street Journal.
The executive stopped short of saying what car makers are involved in the company’s plan to make its own vehicles. Uber has previously worked with UK-based startup Arrival to build a vehicle aimed at ride-hailing drivers, but the EV maker seems to have since moved on to building commercial vehicles.
Uber wants to convert its fleet of vehicles to all-electric by 2030 in many countries around the world, and by 2025 in very congested cities like London. To this effect, the ride-hailing company partnered with Hertz to bring 25,000 EVs from Tesla and Polestar onto European roads, and offers incentives for buyers of electric vehicles in the United States.