Uber starts going electric in South Africa

Uber will launch its first electric vehicle-based service in South Africa over the next few months.

Uber Package — previously called Uber Connect — allows users to book same-day pickup and delivery of a package within a single geographical area.

Starting in Cape Town in December 2023, the company will switch vehicles for this delivery service to fully electric models. The rollout will expand to Johannesburg in February 2024.

The new electric mobility product is one of several that the ride-hailing and on-demand delivery service company announced at the celebration of its 10th anniversary in South Africa.

During the event, Uber showcased one of the scooters that will be used for the service.

Instead of charging directly through a station or outlet, the scooters feature hot-swappable battery packs.

There will be two models used for the service — one with a 1.5kWh battery, 90km range and a top speed of 55km/h and a second with a 4kWh battery, 110km range, and 95km/h maximum speed.

Before drivers run out of juice, they can stop at a battery locker and swap out their unit for a charged one. Uber said this could be done in less than a minute.

The approach is similar to Taiwanese company Gogoro’s battery-swapping platform for urban electric scooters, mopeds, and motorcycles.

Demonstration of battery swapping on Uber Package electric motorbike.

Uber said the launch of the product was a key step in achieving its global target of becoming a zero-emission platform by 2040.

Other new products announced at the 10-year anniversary include Uber Store Pickups, which will enable users to book a delivery person to collect any prepaid items from any store.

In addition, Uber is expanding its Uber Van service to Cape Town and its luxury rideshare offering, Uber Black, to Durban.

The Reserve Airport Pickup feature will also be expanded to the UberX, Uber Comfort, and Uber XL ride options.

Lastly, the new Uber Eats Live service will allow users to place orders for delivery while they are away from home or the office.

This can include deliveries to places like the airport, sports stadiums, concert venues, or music festivals.

Uber Eats Sub-Saharan Africa Nakampe Molewa said one of the benefits of the service will be helping people avoid queues at such events.

Uber also revealed interesting data about trips booked on its platform in South Africa:

  • Most kilometres travelled by a single rider: 813.35km
  • Most popular drop-off destination: OR Tambo International Airport
  • Most popular time to request a ride: 14:00
  • The biggest rider tip: R8,816
  • Common items left behind: Keys and phones
  • Top 3 nationalities with the highest number of trips in South Africa: US, the UK, and Germany
  • The most popular day to travel: Friday
  • Distance covered: Equal to 2,300 trips between Earth and the Moon (1.77 billion kilometres)
  • Number of people who booked rides: Enough to fill up FNB Stadium 78 times (7.39 million people)

Now read: Electric car prices — how long it would take for fuel costs to make up the premium

Latest news

Partner Content

Show comments


Share this article
Uber starts going electric in South Africa