DAVOS, Switzerland—Uber Technologies Inc. is working with auto makers to design lower-cost electric vehicles tailored for its ride-hailing and delivery businesses, part of its effort to electrify its fleet.
Speaking Thursday at an event hosted by The Wall Street Journal, Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi said the company is working with manufacturers on vehicles optimized for city use, ferrying passengers and deliveries. For ride-sharing, that includes cars with lower top speeds and with seating areas where passengers can face each other.
“I do think that top speeds, for example, that many cars have are not necessary for city driving that’s associated with ride-share,” Mr. Khosrowshahi said. “That can reduce the specs and if you reduce the specs you can reduce the ultimate cost.”
For delivery vehicles, Mr. Khosrowshahi said the company is considering smaller vehicles with two or three wheels and trunk space. 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,” he said.
The announcement comes as Uber is working to convert the fleet of vehicles its drivers use to electric by 2030 in many parts of the developed world, and in some places like London by 2025. Uber has previously said it was working in the U.K. with electric-vehicle maker Arrival SA to build a vehicle aimed for ride-hailing drivers. On Thursday, Mr. Khosrowshahi declined to say which car makers the company is working with.
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