CREATING NEW MODELS FOR FUTURE MOBILITY
Vehicle manufacturers and a range of new mobility service providers like Uber and Lyft are exploring a range of collaborations which are likely to shape how people move around in future.
For example, a Californian business has set up a scheme to offer electric or hybrid vehicles, training and support for people who are looking to boost their incomes with Uber, Lyft and other delivery services. For a flat hourly rate, Evercar drivers get access to a pool of well-maintained electric or hybrid vehicles. The hourly fee covers all operating costs, including unlimited mileage, fuel, maintenance, insurance and cleaning.
Uber has also confirmed a strategic investment and auto leasing deal with Toyota. Toyota is reportedly interested in exploring the future of transportation with Uber and the companies have entered into a memorandum of understanding to explore collaboration. This may start with ridesharing trials in countries where the practice is expanding.
The Toyota leasing deal helps Uber expand its financing program for Uber drivers, Uber Xchange, but will also bolster Uber’s moves into a self-driving vehicle future. Toyota announced last November it was making $1 billion available for the creation of the Toyota Research Institute, established to develop artificial intelligence and robotics for self-driving capabilities.
Meanwhile General Motors has invested half a billion dollars in Uber's rival Lyft and also has plans to work with the ridesharing company on self-driving innovation.
In the UK, Westminster City Council has announced a partnership with car sharing experts Zipcar to create a pool of 40 Volkswagen Golf electric vehicles. The initiative forms part of the Car Club Strategy for London, announced last May by Transport for London (TfL), which has set a target to ensure that half of all car-share fleet vehicles are electric by 2025.