In its quest to go all-electric by 2040, Uber India will be rolling out its Uber Green service in June. Under this, customers can opt for an electric car while booking their trips. The new electric vehicle or EV-specific offering will initially be available in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru before being rolled out in other cities. The company will, in the course of this initiative, be deploying 25,000 four-wheelers and 10,000 two-wheelers.
Early this year, homegrown carmaker Tata Motors had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Uber India under which the latter will introduce around 25,000 XPRES–Tata Motor EVs into their premium category service.
Uber had at that time stated that Tata Motors will aid Uber in electrifying its services across Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad
Commenting on the development, Andrew Macdonald, Senior Vice President, Mobility and Business Operations at Uber, said, “India’s huge scale and electrification momentum makes the country a priority for Uber as we seek to meet our commitment to electrify every ride on our platform by 2040. Today, we are taking a major step toward that goal with the launch of Uber Green.”
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The move comes at a time when electric taxi aggregator BluSmart Mobility is competing aggressively with Uber Technologies, the USE-based parent company of the cab aggregator, and the Bhavish Aggarwal-led Ola (backed by Japan’s SoftBank Group) in the domestic ride hailing market. The homegrown startup was recently in the news for raising $42 million (around Rs 342 crore) in a bridge round led by existing investors BP Ventures and Survam Partners.
Uber Green, which claims to be the most widely available on-demand mobility solution in the world for no or low-emission rides, was launched globally in 2021 and is presently offered in more than 100 cities in 15 countries. The initiative allows passengers to request an all-electric, zero tailpipe emission vehicle rather than a regular fossil-fuelled car, the company says.
To further its objective, Uber India has also announced a slew of partnerships with different companies for EV financing, adding e-cars, setting up EV charging infrastructure, etc. For instance, it has expanded its partnership with EV fleet operators Lithium Urban Technologies, Everest Fleet Pvt Ltd and Moove in order to deploy the planned 25,000 electric cars in India over the next two years. It has also teamed up with Zypp Electric for 10,000 electric two-wheelers to be deployed in top five cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune and Hyderabad, by 2024
The company also announced a partnership with the Small Industries Development Bank of India to provide Rs 1,000 crore to finance e-cars. It will also be bringing its global mobility partnership with BP Pulse to India through Jio-bp, (Reliance BP Mobility Ltd, the joint venture between and the British energy company) and has also tied up with GMR Green Energy for fast-charging Uber EVs. The partnerships, while enabling Uber drivers to access their charging networks, will also help develop new charging infrastructure.
Talking about the partnership, Prabhjeet Singh, president, Uber India and South Asia, said, “We truly believe no one stakeholder can contribute to sustainability alone. This is a monumental generational shift which we need to make. We have a role to play to enable availability of EVs, access to better charging infrastructure and affordability to better financing terms (for drivers). That can be enabled by teaming up with players which have the expertise to scale up those solutions.”
“We started on this electrification journey three years back by (taking) baby steps by putting a few two-, three- and four-wheelers on the road when many of the form factors were not even existing. Going all-electric is a challenge that’s bigger than Uber. With the support of some partners, we could add 6x of the number of EVs on our fleet,” added Singh.
Globally, Uber is present across 70 countries and 10,000 cities. In India, the ride-hailing service is available across 125 cities.
Macdonald noted that with around 800,000 active driver partners, India is a “critical market” for Uber. In his view, “India is the third largest country in terms of volumes for Uber and the company would continue to invest in the country to drive future growth.”