Back in 2017, Uber announced its plans to go fully electric in London by 2025. Now, the service has taken another step towards achieving that goal: It has teamed with UK-based auto manufacturer Arrival to create an electric vehicle specifically for ride-hailing purposes. The companies are designing an affordable EV that focuses on driver comfort, seeing as ride-hailing cars rack up a lot more miles than private vehicles, while providing a premium experience for passengers.
Prior to this partnership, Arrival worked on electric vans and buses for corporate use. People across North America and Europe might see them in action in the near future, since UPS already put in an order for 10,000 of its newly unveiled electric vans. According to TechCrunch, this marks Arrival's first foray into electric cars, and it will consult and collaborate with Uber drivers to conjure up a design that meets the partnership's criteria. The companies have released mock-ups of what the EV could look like (see above and below), but they won't be unveiling its final design until the end of 2021 at the earliest. They expect the Arrival EV to go into production in the third quarter of 2023.
Uber drivers in London can apply for EV Assistance under the Clean Air Plan if they want to use an electric vehicle for the service. The company raised £135 million to support drivers with the cost of switching vehicles, after all. Uber didn't expound on when and how drivers can apply for an Arrival car, but it'll likely be an option when it becomes available. Drivers who switch to EVs will also benefit from Uber Green, the option that allows passengers to specifically request all-electric vehicles. The EV ride service expanded to 1,400 new North American cities and towns in January and arrived in London in March.