Ride-hailing service provider Uber is now teaming up with automakers to design electric vehicles, tailored for ridesharing and deliveries. The manufactured vehicles will have lower top speeds to reduce costs. The car will also have passenger seats that face each other to promote conversations. Meanwhile, the delivery vehicles might come with two or three wheels but with spacious trunks.
At an event hosted by The Wall Street Journal on Thursday, Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi said “I do think that top speeds, for example, that many cars have are not necessary for city driving that’s associated with ride-share.” He further added, “that can reduce the specs and if you reduce the specs you can reduce the ultimate cost.”
For delivery vehicles, Khosrowshahi explained, the company is considering smaller vehicles because such vehicles “can get through traffic easier and have a much smaller footprint, both in terms of environmental but also traffic footprint than, let’s say, a car to go deliver groceries.”
The move comes at a time when Uber is trying to convert the vehicles in its fleet to electric by 2030, in many parts of the world. In some places like London, it aims to implement the plan by 2025.
Amid the massive lay-offs by major tech giants, Khosrowshahi said that Uber, as of now, doesn’t have plans for across-the-board cuts, but will be watching costs closely. He added that consumer spending on services remains strong.
“We’ve obviously, because of all the prophecies of doom coming up, been taking a very careful look,” Khosrowshahi said adding, “what we are seeing in terms of consumer spending on a local basis is still quite strong.”