Uber Technologies said on Monday it will launch electric vehicles (EVs) for ride-sharing in India, the first clean car for Uber as the government pushes to electrify public transport and shared mobility. Uber, which plans to roll out 25,000 electric vehicles within three years, is stepping up competition with local rival BluSmart, a BP venture fund-backed EV startup that is leading the electric taxi segment in India.
Uber’s fleet partners will buy electric vehicles from Tata Motors, India’s largest electric vehicle maker, Uber India and South Asia president Prabhjeet Singh said in a phone interview on Monday.
“When you see great transitions, you also don’t want to rush into them without fully understanding the economics and the trade-offs,” Singh told Reuters.
Tata Motors also sells electric vehicles to BluSmart.
Also read: Tata Motors to supply 25,000 XPRES-T EVs to Uber India’s premium fleet
For electric ride-hailing to take off, a combination of factors will need to come together, Singh said. Automakers need to build long-range, affordable vehicles, the financing ecosystem needs to mature, and the charging infrastructure needs to be ubiquitous.
“We believe we’re starting to see early signs of this combination,” Singh said, adding that it’s the largest deal ever made by a ride-sharing company for electric vehicles.
According to Singh, even with 25,000 EVs, EVs will still represent a small fraction of Uber’s current overall active fleet of 300,000 vehicles in India.
Uber has set a goal by 2040 that 100% of its rides will be in zero-emission vehicles, public transport or micro-mobility, including in India.
Singh added that the SoftBank Group Corp-backed ride-hailing giant is in “active” talks with other automakers, charging companies, fleet operators and financial institutions about the rollout of electric vehicles.
Tata’s rival Mahindra & Mahindra is the only Indian automaker to produce EVs locally. China’s BYD and SAIC MG also sell imported electric vehicles in India.
“We will be an important catalyst in accelerating the (electric vehicle) ecosystem,” Singh said.
First published date: Feb 21, 2023 at 07:55 AM CST