Chinese automaker BYD plans to lease 200 E6 EVs to Uber for road testing in Chicago.
According to Reuters, 25 of these E6 vehicles are already on the roads for Uber with plans to expand that amount during the year.
In conjunction with Green Wheels USA, Uber is attempting to make leasing a vehicle for aspiring rideshare hosts easier. Drivers have a choice of three leasing options: a standard lease, a lease to own, or a fee of $200 per week to drive the E6 during one’s shift.
If an Uber driver were to go the weekly payment route, vehicles must be driven back to the dealership after the days use for charging.
In an email to Autoblog from Uber spokeperson Laura Altmin, she’s quoted as saying that “GreenWheels and BYD have both been investing in and building out EV infrastructure in Chicago, and the partnership was a natural fit for this pilot.”
Autoblog also reported that the first informational meeting regarding this leasing saw a multitude of interested individuals looking to get their hands on one of these E6s.
The Shenzhen-based company is one few Chinese car manufacturers attempting to break into the U.S. market right now – and, Berkshire Hathaway owns 10 percent of BYD which could alleviate some of the initial market entry challenges.
BYD’s hatchback comes equipped with an electric motor that puts out 101 horsepower and hits a top speed of 87 miles per hour. BYD states the E6 has a range of 186 miles operating in a city environment but the latest EPA certified range with the 2014 model only indicates a range of 127 miles.
Time will tell if estimates of a 59-mile increase in battery range are truth or merely optimism.
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