Toyota and Uber have already looked into deals to encourage drivers’ use of the Prius, which has already had huge success among Uber drivers. Toyota made a ‘strategic investment’ in Uber and offers a lease deal on its cars.
Hyundai’s Ioniq hybrid has garnered its fair share of comparisons to the Prius since its reveal, mostly for its role within the manufacturer's line-up as a specially developed vehicle for electrified powertrains, as well as the its overall appearance.
Hyundai cited European legislation as a difficulty when chasing progress through Uber. Transport for London (TfL) is pursuing legislation which would limit Uber’s growing success in favour of London taxis.
When asked about the Ioniq’s potential to take on Toyota among Uber drivers, Hyundai’s eco-car bos Ki Sang Lee said: “We have certainly been looking into it. The trouble is that Europe is such a complicated mix of different legislations, so it takes time to assess each and come up with a plan. Even so, we have definitely been looking into Uber and whether we can offer some sort of incentive.
“Toyota is well established in the UK and much of Europe when it comes to taxi services, we realise that. However, we think that by offering something slightly different we could benefit. For instance, using our pure-EV Ioniq in cities as taxis instead of the HEV - Toyota doesn't currently offer a pure-EV Prius.
“We are looking into approaching European cities and coming to some agreement on charging infrastructure. We'd like to say we could provide all the finance ourselves, but it is of course too expensive. However, if cities were to, say, go in 50/50 with us to provide better fast charging [the Ioniq EV will take an 80% charge in 23min], then it could work.
“However, each European city has its own legislation, and it all takes a lot of time.”
Additional reporting by Rory White