Uber has acquired car-sharing platform Car Next Door for an undisclosed amount, in a move that it says fits perfectly with its sustainable electric vehicle initiatives.

The 10 year old car share company currently operates in all of Australia’s state capital cities as well as on the Gold Coast and in Cairns in Queensland, Launceston in Tasmania, and Newscastle in NSW.

While Car Next Door also allows owners of combustion engine vehicles to share their cars, the announcement from the global rideshare company Uber presses the point that the acquisition of Car Next Door is in step with its wider investments aimed at cleaning up the transport sector.

These include encouraging the use of electric cars in Londonpiloting deployment of EV chargers, and partnering with UK electric van and bus startup Arrival. All up, Uber says it has invested $800 million globally to “drive electric vehicle uptake, and integrated micromobility, and public transport options into the Uber app.”

In Australia, Uber also offers a 50% discount on their commission to drivers using battery electric vehicles.

For Car Next Door’s part, the car-share model allows owners to reap a financial return on the purchase cost of their vehicles, which in the case of EVs is higher than for combustion vehicles.

Whether or not car-sharing, which can reduce private car ownership, also leads to less car usage is not clear; in fact, having cars available for sharing might have the opposite effect of encouraging more people to use a car instead of taking public transport.

However, Uber GM for Australia and New Zealand, Dom Taylor, says that the acquisition will allow the rideshare giant to expand its offerings from short rides to include longer distances.

“This deal will change that, and mean that the Uber platform can be a reliable and convenient alternative to the choice to own a car,” he says.

Will Davies, who founded Car Next Door and is the company’s CEO, says that the deal will allow the company to act on its ambitions to scale up and reduce Australian driver’s reliance on privately owned vehicles.

“We know that many of our members are already combining carshare and rideshare with shared bikes and scooters, walking and public transport for a mobility mix that suits their lifestyle,” he said in a statement.

“We see this deal as a big step towards making car-free or car-light living accessible to more people in more places and freeing up space for people, not parking.”

In 2019, South Korean carmaker Hyundai invested some $6 million into Car Next Door, and list a small fleet of Ioniq Electric cars on the platform.

Extracted in full from: Uber eyes electric car share future, acquires Car Next Door (thedriven.io)