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Uber Partners with Mahindra for Commercial EV Fleet in India

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【Summary】The EVs will be deployed in Delhi and Hyderabad next year. So far, the e20 and the eVerito were the two models selected for the fleet.

Michael Cheng    Nov 29, 2017 7:09 PM PT
Uber Partners with Mahindra for Commercial EV Fleet in India

Ride-hailing and EVs are taking off in India, with large investors and companies, such as Tata Motors, Suzuki and Ola (just to name a few), spearheading the two niches in the region.

Capturing India's ride-hailing market is no easy task, which is why many businesses are partnering with local establishments for guidance and familiarity. Uber has chosen this path, as it recently announced a partnership with Mahindra and Mahindra (M2M). The collaboration involves a pilot project for the introduction over 100 EVs into Uber's ride-hailing fleet in the country.

EV Fleet

The EVs will be deployed in Delhi and Hyderabad next year. So far, the e20 and the eVerito were the two models selected for the fleet. On the commercial side, individuals interested in purchasing any of the two EVs for ride-hailing services will be provided with incentives by Uber.   

Interestingly, exclusivity is not on the table for this partnership agreement. M2M is ‘playing both sides' by collaborating with Ola (Uber's biggest competitor in India) on the introduction of a new EV fleet in Nagpur. The deal was completed earlier this year.

"India is one of our key development centers and we have a strong commitment here. We have lots of innovation coming out of here (India) for the Indian market but also for the entire world, the most prominent one being cash," said Daniel Graf, global head of product at Uber.

In other parts of the world, Uber is making similar commitments. In Dubai, its fleet will be upgraded with 50 new Tesla cars. The company also offers incentives to London drivers using an EV for ride-hailing services.

Prioritizing Scale over Tech

Uber's operations in India are in demand. To cater to its growing database of customers in the region, the company recently opened two development centers, located in Bengaluru and Hyderabad. In both areas, ride-hailing fleets are managed by a team of 150 members.

Competition in the local sector is starting to unfold prolifically, as SoftBank-backed Ola continues to expand its services. In order to capture as much of the market as possible, Uber has rolled out numerous ways to summon a ride.

Residents can book a ride in popular hotspots by calling a number and entering a code that is tied with a specific location. Uber's system handles the booking and the dispatching of rider data to the driver. This option is currently being tested in Pune.

"There are plenty of examples where consumer technology behavior is way ahead of a major company that's slow to respond to marketplace demand. But with Uber in India, it's the other way around, and the company is taking a step back to focus on basics before it takes a test drive with features available in other markets," said Dan Peltier from Skift.

Other booking options for India-based customers include text messages and a light, web-based platform for smartphone users. Moreover, individuals can book rides for other people. To assist drivers, Uber is working on enhancing its forecasting methods, in relation to traffic and peak periods.

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