Uber, a San Francisco start-up that offers an app allowing potential riders to summon a luxury sedan with a tap of their phone, will offer a hybrid car option starting this week.
In an effort to appeal to the less affluent, the hybrid option will be a much more affordable choice, as well as a significantly more efficient one. Hybrids will require a 10-15 percent price premium over conventional taxis; however, compared with the 40-100 percent premium for a standard black town car, it is a much more attractive-and greener-option.
In the suburban sprawl of Los Angeles, Uber can be an obvious asset to the weary rider; but is its role as integral to a congested, cab-cluttered city like New York? Well, hailing a taxi during Manhattan rush-hour can be an exhausting effort, bordering on an exercise in futility. According to the New York Times article, Uber’s “software tries to predict areas where rides are likely to be in high demand at different times of day. This information appears on a driver’s smartphone so that he can know where to linger and, ideally, pick up customers within minutes of a request for a ride.” This adds not only convenience to the mix, but, coupled with an influx of hybrids, a more efficient means of transportation within and around cities. The higher cost associated with Uber’s platform reflects not only the service, but the gas used by traditional luxury sedans. This is where hybrids come in handy: drivers will spend less time and money fueling up because of the high efficiency standards, allowing for lower transportation costs.
It’s encouraging to see a company like Uber taking full advantage of the practicality of hybrids, which have evolved from their initial role as a niche oddity to a global leader in the automotive world.