- Uber’s Japan division has announced a deal with Tesla to bring 100 Model Ys onto Tokyo’s roads as fully electric taxis.
- The move builds on Uber’s aim of becoming a zero-emission mobility platform by 2040.
- Getting people in Japan inside electric cars could be what is needed to break the current low sales figures of EVs within the country.
Tokyo’s taxis go electric
Uber’s Japanese branch, and Tokyo taxi company Hinomaru Kotsu, have teamed up to bring 100 Tesla Model Ys to the app’s service by 2024. Tesla chargers will be installed at the taxi company’s depots in the city, to ensure that the EVs can stay charged up throughout the day. App users will be able to specifically choose a Tesla Model Y to pick them up, rather than relying on luck to get a ride in the new Teslas.
Uber’s electrification process is taking place around the world, aiming to be a zero-emission mobility platform worldwide by the year 2040. It has its sights set on London to be the first city where its fleet of taxis will be entirely electric by 2025. Plus, the company offers users the choice of an electric vehicle across a number of American and Canadian cities.
Why Tesla could benefit further from this move
The move is very much in Tesla’s interest, too, however. Of course, selling 100 cars is a small achievement, but the move could also be an opportunity to freely advertise its cars to the Japanese market.
Japan in particular has been notably slow when it comes to EV uptake both by local manufacturers and the public. As Green.TV founder Ade Thomas discovered firsthand on a recent trip to Osaka, EVs and their infrastructure are hard to come by in the country. The figures back this up too. Despite Nissan pioneering one of the first mass-produced EVs with the Nissan Leaf, EVs contributed just 2.1% of total passenger car sales in Japan last year, according to Nikkei Asia. That compares to 12.1% in the EU, and a worldwide market share of 14%.
Getting the Japanese public inside electric cars through these Ubers could help encourage EV adoption, and also ensure that Tesla’s name is established whilst manufacturers such as Nissan and Toyota bring new electric cars to the market. Although local manufacturers typically sell best in Japan, Tesla has a knack for selling well in territories where its American and European cousins struggle – take China for instance, where Tesla sales are comparable to those of local OEMs.