Uber has begun offering electric vehicles to customers in certain parts of the Delhi-NCR region and says it will expand its efforts in the coming months. The electric cabs are currently only available for pre-planned rides.
“As the leading mobility app in India, we are committed to supporting the Government of India’s emissions targets. Expect to see more electric vehicles – be they two-, three- or four-wheelers – in Indian cities in the coming months,” the spokeswoman said in a statement emailed to londonbusinessblog.com in response to a question.
The company did not share how many EV booths were operational on its platform in India, but insisted that it is working with multiple fleet partners, OEMs and charging infrastructure providers “to gradually build the EV business in a sustainable way”.
Uber’s move comes as India pushes ride-hailing companies to electrify a significant portion of their fleet in the coming years. Reuters reported in 2019 that the Indian government had ordered Uber and its arch-rival Ola to convert 5% of their fleet by 2022 and make it 40% by April 2026. The push came amid New Delhi’s pledge to reduce reliance on oil imports and air pollution to meet its commitment to the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
The electric cabs are available through the Reserve feature in the app, allowing customers to choose a ride pick-up time up to 30 days in advance. Users can cancel their scheduled trips 60 minutes before their trip free of charge, according to the description on the app.
Both the federal government and various state governments in India have started offering incentives to customers and suppliers in recent years to increase the adoption of EVs. For example, the state government in Delhi says it is… 1,000 EV charging points installed across the city. It also introduced the Delhi EV policy in August 2020, in which it provides subsidies for the installation of charging stations. The city aims to have 18,000 charging points for electric vehicles in the next three years.
Ola – which counts SoftBank, Temasek Holdings, Hyundai Motor and Kia among its investors – also has a separate electric mobility unit to build EVs. The company initially introduced its EV scooters to the market and says it has plans to expand that company with an electric car by 2024.
Ola has also attempted to enter the EV cab market in India. In 2018 it is launched a program called “Mission: Electric” to bring electric cabs, electric auto rickshaws, electric buses, rooftop solar installations, charging stations and battery swapping experiments to the country.
In addition to Uber and Ola, Gujarat-based BluSmart Electric Mobility is also in the running for EV cabs in the South Asian market. The company that Raised $25 Million from BP Ventures earlier this year and is about to raise $250 million, has an all-electric fleet as a key difference from the existing two giants. It also claims to have made more than 2.5 million all-electric journeys and has over 900,000 app downloads since its launch in 2019. However, BluSmart’s reach is currently limited to Delhi-NCR and Bengaluru.
Uber has been offering electric vehicles in the US and Europe for some time now. The company, headquartered in San Francisco, California, has an Uber Green program to offer electric vehicles in its fleet and aims to become a zero-emission platform by 2040. It has also allocated $800 million to encourage drivers on its platform to adopt electric vehicles by 2025. .