There were about 14,463 Uber trips made in each minute of 2022 across the 900 cities where you can get an Uber. Uber, however, doesn’t say how many of those trips were in electric vehicles, but does say that it saved over 18 million litres of petrol from the 25,000 EVs in its global fleet.
In 2008 Travis Kalanick pitched the idea of Uber to possible investors as the convenience of a cab in New York City plus the experience of a being driven by a professional chauffer. The idea was to marry these things together into a luxury experience in San Francisco – where it’s near impossible to catch a cab.
I’m recording this audio in Cape Town, South Africa, though. A million miles away from the Bay Area and Silicon Valley. My last Uber was a Suzuki Espresso and the only Frisco that driver knows is the coffee that comes in the can.
That’s why I met up with Uber Southern Africa General Manager Kagiso Khaole at the Africa Green Economy Summit ahead of the Cape Town ePrix, to ask him how Uber is going to revolutionise the way South Africans travel, again.
Travis Kalanick sold a dream of convenience, not a product that would save the world.
Whichever way you slice it, Uber doesn’t solve traffic problems or reduce emissions.
But it could. Those 25,000 EVs currently in the global Uber fleet will be joined by 25,000 more that will flood the streets of India by 2026 allowing the ride hailing pioneers to easily reach its 50,000 goal by 2030.
Again, a convenient solution to a real problem.
Uber wants to be a technology platform, though. One that connects riders to an interconnected network of mobility solutions
But South Africa is still miles away from striking a manufacturing and EV adoption deal like the Indian one, or scaling the Gautrain to operate in other cities.
But EVs are beginning to trickle to our shores, and our production lines are slowly making room for more alternative energy transport options.
But that’s a story for another day.
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