Opinion: Can Uber maintain its business model with a bespoke electric car? Car News

Startup EV Arrival yesterday announced plans for an electric car specifically for Uber drivers, the latest in what appears to be a theme of tech companies doing DIY on their vehicles (see Amazon and Rivian, among others , for more details).

This raises questions about the financial viability of such a car, primarily for drivers, if the rideshare giant’s current business model is to continue.

Uber’s terms for UK drivers state that they must have a car “model year 2008 or newer for London and 2006 or newer for anywhere else in the UK”.

Where I live in Bogota the deadline is 2001. Cars are heavily taxed here and prohibitively expensive for many, so it’s not at all uncommon to find private rental vehicles on the far end. the oldest of this spectrum. I found myself in the backs of many Mid-1990s Hyundai’s after hailing a yellow cab.

To be fair, Uber’s electrification plans are focused on Europe and North America at the moment, and electric vehicles make up a portion of its fleets in those areas. But the larger point is that new electric cars – let alone a built-to-order fleet – don’t come cheap and, for a freelance worker, that’s a big leap from something like a 2008 Prius, in. especially in business. has not been great in the past year.

If any of the major ridesharing services are to seriously deploy their own vehicles, it will need to be very affordable to operate under the current model – where drivers provide their own wheels – and be successful. implemented worldwide.

The alternative is that Uber / Arrival has another business model in mind, perhaps one where they provide the car at a subsidized rate and the buyer pays off the excess over time, under in the form of a student loan. It would be easier to swallow for your average private driver.

Jack Carfrae


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This notice was published: 2021-05-05 16:04:58