American ride-hailing company Uber said on Wednesday that it has partnered with SUN Mobility, an electric mobility startup, to deploy electric three-wheelers on its platform in select cities in the coming months.
“We are delighted to partner with SUN Mobility, an industry pioneer, to try to usher in a wave of electric vehicles in the mass market category,” said Pradeep Parameswaran, president, Uber (India and South Asia).
As part of the deal, SUN Mobility will offer its energy infrastructure platform to a select number of original equipment manufacturers for building e-autos. This platform includes swappable batteries and quick interchange stations.
Uber said that fleet owners and Uber’s driver partners will benefit from the deal because they can buy vehicles without batteries and save on initial acquisition costs. “They will receive charged, swappable batteries as a service from SUN Mobility, thereby helping bring the overall cost of e-autos in line with their internal combustion engine (ICE) counterpart,” Uber said.
Uber said the project is in line with the government’s vision of increasing the use of electric vehicles for transport solutions. “Uber and SUN Mobility will aim to address the gap between policy and implementation for catering to the country’s growing need for cleaner and more sustainable public transport solutions,” it said in a statement.
The government is actively pushing adoption of EVs, for which it announced several incentives in the Union Budget 2019 on July 5. It has also earmarked Rs 10,000 crore for the implementation of the second phase of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles (FAME-India) scheme to accelerate the shift to electric vehicles.
“Uber’s deep knowledge and expertise in creating global mobility platforms combined with SUN Mobility’s unique energy infrastructure will accelerate the adoption of convenient and affordable zero-emission mobility across India,” the company said in a statement.
Chetan Maini, co-founder and vice-chairman, SUN Mobility, said that partnering with Uber will help create a wide EV landscape at scale, transforming the way people commute. Founded in 2017, Sun Mobility works with state transport undertakings, fleet operators, shared mobility providers, and automotive OEMs across platforms including 2/3 wheelers, cars and buses.
The ride-hailing space is abuzz with projects like Uber’s. Ola, Uber’s closest competitor in India, too, is pushing heavily for electric mobility through its electric vehicles arm, Ola Electric, which recently became a unicorn—a startup valued at $1billion—after receiving $250 million from Masayoshi Son-led SoftBank in a funding round. It runs two/three-wheeler electric fleets in select cities. Auto major Mahindra & Mahindra, too, entered the fray with its electric car hailing service Glyd in February.