Uber collaborates with automakers to design custom electric ride-share vehicles
Uber is reportedly planning on working with automakers to develop custom rideshare and delivery vehicles.
DAVE BRIGGS: My play also in that space, it's Uber. Shares seeing a very solid start to the year. News today that Uber is working with automakers to design lower cost electric vehicles specifically tailored for its ride hailing and delivery businesses. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi telling the Wall Street Journal the plan would specifically focus on city use, featuring cars with lower top speeds and with seating areas where passengers actually face each other.
The delivery cars, on the other hand, Dara says, could have two or even three wheels with expanded trunk space, but the CEO declined to specify which automakers he's actually talking with. Uber shares fell 41% last year, but have since bounced back up 13% this year with several other big tech names that were hammered last year. Pretty much flat today. But this is an interesting evolution they could make. I want to ask you how you'd feel about facing each other, Seana, in an Uber.
SEANA SMITH: Who, me and you or total strangers?
DAVE BRIGGS: Oh, why not?
SEANA SMITH: If I know the person, it's fine.
DAVE BRIGGS: OK, if it's me, you're out?
SEANA SMITH: No, no.
DAVE BRIGGS: Oh, oh.
SEANA SMITH: If it's you, I'm in. If it's a total stranger, you guys are facing--
DAVE BRIGGS: Well, that's if it's Uber Pool. You're obviously with people you know and somewhat like in an Uber.
SEANA SMITH: OK, OK, as long as it's not--
DAVE BRIGGS: You want to face them.
SEANA SMITH: --used for Uber Pool and just for an Uber, I think it's fine.
JOSH SCHAFER: It's like a train.
SEANA SMITH: It's kind of like a train, exactly. I don't have an issue with that. I think it's a great idea, especially if these are going to be smaller vehicles. We know Uber and its competitor, Lyft, have long been criticized for the congestion that they have added to very popular cities, like right here in New York. So you'd think smaller vehicles might be a slight improvement to that. I think the goals of this are very lofty. I love the vision here. I just don't know how realistic it would be in a short time period.
JOSH SCHAFER: Well, one thing that sticks out to me here that I pointed out earlier today when we were talking about this, this really gets with what Uber is and has wanted to be for over a decade now from its beginning. And I said that this reminded me of "Super Pumped." I watched that recently on Showtime, Travis Kala--
DAVE BRIGGS: Awesome.
JOSH SCHAFER: It's about Travis Kalanick, the founder.
DAVE BRIGGS: Awesome.
JOSH SCHAFER: Great show, and that's sort of the character that Kalanick is at that time in Uber, right? He said at the five-year anniversary-- I just looked this up today-- just imagine a city where traffic speeds along smoothly and quietly, even at rush hour. This is my dream. That's what one of the co-founders and CEOs of Uber wanted almost a decade ago. That's kind of where they're trying to head with this. I think in some-- like a utopian city, almost, which does feel a little big.
DAVE BRIGGS: I like the facing each other aspect, and that I hate sitting in the front of an Uber when my friends are in the back, and they're having a drink. But--
But I guess the fact that Uber drivers like to flip on and off the Uber app-- sometimes they're driving around doing things, and then they decide to work for a few hours. No one wants to drive around in a specific car tailored for delivery or passengers. So that, I think, is--
SEANA SMITH: The adoption of it will be--
DAVE BRIGGS: Yeah.
SEANA SMITH: It might be a little tough.