Australian car hire platform Splend has been given a $20 million boost by the Clean Energy Financing Corporation (CEFC) to help double the number of electric vehicles (EVs) in its fleet to 1,000 by the end of this year.
Splend, the largest provider of vehicles to the national rideshare industry, says the financing initiative puts the company on track to meet its even more ambitious target of 10,000 EVs in Australia and the UK by 2024.
CEFC says this is the first time it has backed a clean energy solution for rideshare drivers with the $20 million to be used by Splend to offer rideshare drivers short-term or long-term vehicle finance contracts to transition to an EV.
Splend owns Australia’s biggest fleet of Polestar 2 EVs which it hires to eligible rideshare drivers under its flexi-own plan. The company estimates the new EVs save drivers up to $100 a week on vehicle, fuel and servicing costs.
“Splend’s vision is to lead rideshare to a more sustainable future and deliver more affordable vehicle subscriptions to on-demand drivers,” Splend CEO Chris King says.
“With over 100,000 rideshare vehicles across Australia, of which only 1 per cent are EVs, transporting millions of Australians every week, the immediate priority is to focus on the decarbonation of this segment.
“We are delighted to work alongside CEFC as we work to achieve our fleet target of 10,000 EVs by 2024.”
Splend, which was founded by King in 2015, early last year raised $150 million to help the company reach this ambitious fleet target in Australia and the UK, where Splend operates in 10 cities and employs a team of 100.
At the end of last year, the company rolled out 500 EVs in Sydney and it is now the single largest EV operator in Australia.
“Since then, our EVs have travelled over 6.2 million kilometres and saved over 1,000 tonnes of CO2 tailpipe emissions,” King says.
CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth describes the $20 million financing facility as a key opportunity to help decarbonise the transport sector.
“High-kilometre drivers like those in the rideshare services industry can lead the electrification of Australia’s transport sector, which will also require increased investment in our charging infrastructure to meet demand as momentum in the transition to EVs builds,” Learmonth says.
“Due to the significant distance that rideshare vehicles travel, transitioning this fleet to EVs marks a significant opportunity to cut transport emissions.
“This is an exciting change to the way Australians can enjoy the convenience of rideshare services while having a real impact towards achieving zero emissions in our transport sector.”
CEFC has revealed that rideshare vehicles travel about five times the distance of private vehicles, or up to 60,000km a year compared with 11,000km for the average driver.
With Splend drivers transporting an average of 400 customers per month, CEFC says the expansion of the platform’s EV fleet also will introduce more customers to the benefits of electric vehicles.
The financing arrangement with CEFC will include a sharing by Splend of battery performance and second-hand resale values for vehicles in its fleet. CEFC says this will provide essential data for other fleet operators and fleet financiers to price operating leases.
Splend’s platform supplies vehicles to drivers across multiple driver and deliver platforms including Ola, DiDi, UberEats and Zoom2u.
The company has set a target of becoming carbon neutral by 2040.
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