Will going green allow Uber to get a bigger slice of the Spanish market?

Tesla Model S
Ridesharing giant Uber has deployed its first fleet of electric cars in Madrid, the capital of Spain, as part of a new service named UberOne. Going green is undeniably good for the environment, but it’s also a clever way for the company to cozy up to the Spanish authorities.

Taxi companies unhappy about competing with Uber’s non-professionally licensed drivers successfully convinced the Spanish government to ban the service at the end of 2014. The company managed to return earlier this year with UberX, which offers passengers rides in cars operated by professionally licensed drivers. Now, it’s trying to get on the local authorities’ good side by adding dozens of Tesla Model S sedans to UberOne.

“We want to do things that are in line with what the town hall wants,” explained Carles Lloret, the managing director of Uber’s southern European division, in a recent interview with Reuters. Adding electric cars to Uber’s fleet is a small step toward lowering air pollution levels and reducing the number of cars that drive into the city every day, two key problems that local authorities are struggling with.

The fact that Uber picked the Tesla Model S and not a more affordable electric car like the widely available Renault Zoe or the Nissan Leaf is telling. UberOne aims to provide passengers with a premium experience for a cost similar to what a standard taxi would charge, according to Spanish daily newspaper El Pais. The same report points out UberOne is primarily aimed at businessmen, though it’s available to anyone who downloads the application and creates an account. To that end, every car in the UberOne fleet features a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 tablet that the passengers can use to check their email, connect to social media, or simply surf the web. They can also access their favorite tunes by logging on to Spotify.

UberOne launches today in Madrid. The service could be expanded to other cities in Europe and abroad, but Uber couldn’t be reached for comment.

Cars

Nissan IMs concept teases a future long-range, autonomous electric car

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Nissan IMs is an electric car with a 380-mile range, autonomous-driving capability, and a backseat designed for being chauffeured. Too bad it's just a concept car.
Cars

Self-driving, electric, and connected, the cars of CES 2019 hint at the future

Car companies remained surprisingly quiet during CES 2018. But they spoke up in 2019. From electric hatchbacks you can buy in 2019 to super-futuristic mood-detecting technology, here are the major announcements we covered during the event.
Cars

With a 48-inch screen, this futuristic dashboard is like nothing else

Chinese startup Byton traveled to CES 2019 to unveil a new version of its electric concept that's closer to series production. It has the largest screen ever fitted to a production vehicle.
Cars

Ford’s app-based ‘Chariot’ shuttle service is offering its final rides

Chariot, the app-based crowdsourced ride service owned by Ford, is shutting down in the coming weeks. Launched in 2014, the bus-like service has apparently been unable to deal with competition from the likes of Uber and Lyft.
Cars

Hyundai’s Veloster N hot hatchback will prove its mettle on the track

The Hyundai Veloster N will go racing to prove the credibility of Hyundai's new N performance division. Unveiled at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Veloster N race car will compete in a class with other small cars.
Cars

The 2020 Lexus RC F goes on a diet to run faster and hit harder

The Lexus RC F has been one of the heavier cars in its competitive set since its introduction. The Japanese firm's engineers set out to shed weight as they gave the model a mid-cycle update.
Cars

Lexus LC convertible concept teases a new open-air flagship

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Lexus LC convertible concept adds open-air motoring to the sleek LC's resume. But Lexus won't commit to a production version of the car just yet.
Cars

Fast and Furious fans get revved up: Toyota’s Supra sports car is back

The 2020 Toyota Supra made its long-awaited debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The resurrected sports car, famous for a role in The Fast and the Furious, goes on sale in the U.S. this summer.
Cars

Muscle cars, trucks, and EVs roared into the subdued 2019 Detroit Auto Show

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show was the quietest edition of the event in recent memory, but that doesn't mean nothing significant happened inside the Cobo Center. Here are the new cars and concepts we saw at the show.
Cars

Big tech, bigger grille: BMW updates its 7 Series flagship for 2020

The BMW 7 Series will enter the 2020 model year with a host of updates inside, outside, and under the sheet metal. The new-look nose with a jumbo grille hides updated engines, while passengers benefit from smart tech features.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.
Cars

In McLaren’s 600LT Spider, the engine is the only sound system you’ll need

The McLaren 600LT Spider is the inevitable convertible version of the 600LT coupe, itself a lighter, more powerful version of the McLaren 570S. The 600LT Spider boasts a 592-horsepower, twin-turbo V8, and a loud exhaust system to hear it…
Cars

Robomart’s self-driving grocery store is like Amazon Go on wheels

Robomart's driverless vehicle is like an Amazon Go store on wheels, with sensors tracking what you grab from the shelves. If you don't want to shop online or visit the grocery store yourself, Robomart will bring the store to you.
News

Ford has a plan to future-proof the hot-selling F-150 pickup truck

Worried about the threat of rising gas prices, Ford will add the F-150 to its growing portfolio of electrified vehicles. It is currently developing a hybrid F-150, and it will release an electric version of the next-generation truck.