Ride-hailing app Uber has announced that it intends to launch electric autorickshaws in several cities in the coming months.
Uber has partnered with battery-maker SUN Mobility, a joint venture between solar power company SUN New Energy System and electric car maker Virya Mobility 5.0.
Forbes reports that India is home to some of the most polluted cities in the world and that a switch to electric would not only help cut some of those emissions, but would also help to cut some of its fuel import costs.
New Delhi is said to have laid out $1.4 billion in subsidies over three years for electric buses, three-wheelers and four-wheelers. These are locally known as autorickshaws. New Delhi is also reported to have plans to order Uber and Ola to convert 40% of their fleet to electric by 2026.
SUN, which makes swappable lithium-ion batteries, told Forbes the only way to make EVs affordable for the masses is to separate the cost of the batteries from the price of the vehicles. It is currently working with manufacturers of electric autorickshaws, such as the Piaggio Group, where a driver can buy the vehicle at a reduced price because SUN still owns the batteries inside of it.
Forbes reports that this will also be the strategy it will be deploying in its deal with Uber as well.