Uber plans to shift its focus from cars to electric scooters and bike business, says CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. He predicts that people will make more frequent short journeys, as opposed to long trips, in the future, especially in inner city.
The company is aware that short-term this could hurt profits, however hopes that the strategic move will put them ahead of competition in the future. Uber’s Jump electric bikes have already launched in several US cities, and are planned to launch in Berlin soon. The ride-hailing company has also teamed up with Lime, an electric scooter sharing company.
Khostrowshahi says despite the fact that the company makes less money on the same trip taken by a bike compared to a car, users will use bikes more frequently. He also acknowledged that drivers will lose out over the company plans, but said they would benefit from longer trips.
The company remains under pressure as it lost $4.5 billion last year, as it expands into new businesses like bike sharing and food delivery.
Japan to develop flying cars
Japan has formed a government-led group with 21 companies, including Uber, Boeing, Airbus, Toyota, Japan Airlines and NEC corp to develop flying cars. The representatives of the companies and the government will meet at the end of the month to develop a road map.
Ministry of Trade said Japanese government would provide all appropriate support “to help realize the concept of flying cars”.
Such flying vehicles are already being developed by startups around the world and as Japan lags behind other countries in development of electric vehicles and self-driving cars, the government wants to jump on the next big thing. One of the major hurdles for development of such vehicles are regulatory obstacles, which Japan is willing to be less strict about.
Uber is already investing 20 million euros for its flying car service facility in Paris. Kitty Hawk, a Silicon Valley startup with Google’s Larry Page backing already showed a prototype of flying vehicle this summer.
Kalashnikov to produce Tesla competitor
Russian gun-maker Kalashnikov demonstrated a prototype of an electric vehicle, which the company says will compete with Tesla. The vehicle is known as CV-1. The company spokesperson said they specifically wanted to compete with Tesla, as it is now the most successful electric vehicle company.
While the company is known for its rifles, it also has other products such as iPhone covers, umbrellas and a combat robot called ‘Little Igor’, which strongly resembles robots from Star Wars franchise.
Kalashnikov claims the CV-1 has 90 kilowatt battery and can travel 220 miles on single charge, compared to Tesla Model S’ 335 mile range. The interior of the vehicle is not yet known. Most commentators remain skeptical about the company’s ability to compete with Tesla.