Uber in car design deal as it looks to go all electric

Taxi firm Uber has announced it is working to create a specifically designed electric vehicle for its millions of drivers with the plan for the first vehicles will roll off the production line within two years.

Uber has teamed up with Arrival car to develop an affordable, purpose-built electric vehicle (EV) for ride-hailing drivers. The Arrival Car is expected to enter production in the third quarter of 2023.

“The Arrival Car will address the global need to shift ride-hailing and car sharing services, with over 30 million estimated drivers across the ride-hailing sector, to electric to reduce emissions and improve air quality in cities,” said Arrival Car.

Uber has committed to becoming a fully electric mobility platform in London by 2025 and by 2030 across North America and Europe.

As a typical ride-hailing vehicle will on average drive 45-50,000km a year, versus 12,000km for a typical vehicle, Arrival Car said it will prioritise driver comfort, safety, and convenience, while ensuring the passengers enjoy a premium experience.

With this in mind, Arrival said it will collaborate with Uber drivers in the design process over the coming months to ensure the Arrival Car reflects the needs of professional drivers and their passengers, with the final vehicle design expected to be revealed before the end of 2021.

Uber launched its Clean Air Plan in London two years ago, since which more than £135m has been raised to support drivers with the cost of switching to a fully electric vehicle.

Uber’s focus is now to encourage drivers to apply for EV Assistance under the Clean Air Plan. This will help clean up urban transport and drive a mass market for EVs.

Tom Elvidge, SVP Arrival Mobility UK said: “We are confident that electrifying ride-hailing vehicles will have an outsized impact on cities, and we are keen to support drivers as they manage this transition. Arrival Car will be designed around drivers’ needs to create a vehicle that is affordable, durable and desirable. We have a great partnership with UPS to create a best-in-class electric delivery vehicle, and we hope to replicate that success with Uber as we develop the best possible product for ride hailing that elevates the experience of the passenger and improves drivers’ health, safety and finances.”

Uber has also announced a range of support for its drivers as they look to double the number of its drivers in London that are using EVs.

Those steps include:

  • Drivers will be able to purchase or lease vehicles at discounted rates thanks to our partnerships with Nissan, Hyundai, Kia, Otto and WeFlex.
  • Drivers can use bp Pulse’s public charging network at a discounted rate. Drivers can also access Uber dedicated charging points at a series of rapid charging hubs in London.
  • There will be discounts on home chargers from bp Pulse, PodPoint and EO.
  • There will continue to be a reduced service fee of 15% for all trips on Uber Green – a new product which allows riders to request a fully electric vehicle for the same price or less as an UberX.
  • Drivers can access low interest rates of less than 5% when financing the purchase of an electric vehicle.

Jamie Heywood, Uber’s Regional General Manager for Northern and Eastern Europe said: “As our cities open up, we have an opportunity to make sure that urban transport is cleaner than ever before. Uber is committed to helping every driver in London upgrade to an EV by 2025, and thanks to our Clean Air Plan more than £135m has been raised to support this ambition. Our focus is now on encouraging drivers to use this money to help them upgrade to an electric vehicle, and our partnership with Arrival will help us achieve this goal.”

Uber said it is committing to double the number of drivers in EVs by the end of this year as part of the roadmap for all cars on the app to be fully electric by 2025.

Uber has committed to becoming a fully electric mobility platform in London by 2025 and by 2030 across North America and Europe.