Splend backs Uber's net-zero mission by rolling out 500 new Polestar EVs in Sydney

Splend backs Uber's net-zero mission by rolling out 500 new Polestar EVs in Sydney

L-R: Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, Splend CEO Chris King and Uber's ANZ general manager Dom Taylor

Australian car hire platform Splend, the largest provider of vehicles to the national rideshare industry, is bolstering Uber’s ambitions to become carbon neutral by 2040 with the rollout of 500 new electric vehicles for its drivers by 2023.

Splend, which now owns Australia’s biggest fleet of Polestar 2 EVs aided by $1.8 million in funding through the NSW Drive Electric fleets incentive, is piloting the program in Sydney before rolling out the EV initiative with Uber nationally.

Most of the new EV fleet is expected to be on the road before Christmas, with the rest by early 2023.

The Splend partnership has been pitched by Uber as the next step in its Comfort Electric initiative, which was launched in the US earlier this year and is set to be introduced in Sydney early next year.

Comfort Electric will offer Uber customers the option of requesting a Polestar 2 or Tesla when booking a ride, which the rideshare giant says enables Aussies to be part of the climate solution. Comfort Electric will cost more than a regular Uber, which is expected to incentivise more drivers to transition to EVs.

Under the partnership with Uber, Splend will offer the 500 new Polestar 2 EVs for hire to eligible Uber drivers under its flexi-own plan. Polestar, jointly owned by Volvo and Chinese parent Geely, entered the Australian market early this year as an affordable rival to Tesla.

Incentives for drivers to take up a Polestar include a 50 per cent reduction in Uber’s service fee, which could be worth up to $6,000 a year. Splend is also providing a special pricing option for at-home EV charging as well as subsided weekly pricing on its flexi-own plan.

Uber says the partnership with Splend offers drivers an affordable option to jump aboard the EV revolution.

“We know there are many barriers for Australians when it comes to driving an electric vehicle, not the least being limited supply and the cost of the car itself,” says Dom Taylor, the general manager of Uber Australia and New Zealand.

“With this partnership, we are building new pathways and making it easier than ever for more driver partners to go electric.”

Uber made an official commitment two years ago to become a zero-emission platform by 2040, setting aside about $1 billion to encourage the take-up of EVs by its drivers globally. In June, Uber announced a $26 million incentive program to get more of its drivers into EVs, including a 50 per cent reduction in drivers’ service fees until mid-2025 up to $3,500 a year.

“At Uber, we can have an outsized impact in accelerating the transition to zero-emission transport,” says Taylor.

“When rideshare drivers switch to electric vehicles, they realise three to four times greater emissions savings compared to average car owners, because rideshare drivers use their vehicles more frequently.

“We believe that the future of transport is shared and electric, and we’re thrilled to soon offer Aussies a greener ride around town with Comfort Electric.”

Splend, which was founded by Chris King in 2015, earlier this year raised $150 million to help expand its fleet in Australia and the UK to 10,000 by 2024. King has long been a proponent of decarbonising the rideshare industry with a commitment to transition 100,000 drivers in Australia to EVs in the next five years and one million globally over the next decade

“Splend’s purpose is to accelerate humanity’s transition to zero emission mobility, and we have an ambition to help one million drivers globally make the switch to electric vehicles over the next 10 years,” he says.

“This partnership with Uber Australia marks the start of what will be a rapid acceleration of EV adoption in Australia over the next few years and further solidifies Splend as a key global vehicle partner. The win-win offering empowers drivers to make the switch and allows Aussies to choose electric when they ride with Uber.”

Splend’s platform supplies vehicles to drivers across multiple driver and deliver platforms including Ola, DiDi, UberEats and Zoom2u.

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