Well done Chris King! Congratulations to you and the team at Splend for being the first fleet in Australian to take a punt on EVs by placing an order for 3,000 electric vehicles.
Splend is a technology-enabled vehicle subscription provider that helps people to earn a living through on-demand apps such as Uber with flexible vehicle subscription and ownership plans. Since launching in Sydney in 2015, Splend helped drivers earn more, improve their ratings, and enjoy their jobs, by offering an unrivalled level of support for its members.
The details in the announcement don’t confirm the delivery date or schedule fo the vehicles. And it even hints that some of the vehicles will go to Splend’s UK operations which would make sense considering the UK Government’s favourable tax regime for zero emission vehicles. None of this matters because Australian fleets needed someone to say EV are ok.
So will this first large order be the tipping point for electric vehicles in Australia?
Most of the discussions on the electrification of fleets in Australia circle around three challenges – upfront cost, infrastructure, range anxiety. Nexport and Splend are not using these reasons as excuses. Instead, they are forging ahead with a belief that their customers (rideshare drivers) will love the product, enjoy lower whole of life costs and reduce greenhouse emissions.
Splend started in 2015 and by 2016 Splend had 600 vehicles on their fleet. In 2020 the fleet size declined as COVID reduced demand for Uber and other rideshare services though the fleet had grown to approximately 2,000 cars at the beginning of 2021.
In 2017 Splend announced that they had planted 10,500 trees by partnering with Greenfleet. So the environmental credibility has been there since the early days before electric vehicles and zero emissions reached the mainstream media and started to be included government policies.
Agreeing to purchase 3,000 cars creates a headline and there are many more details to come. Nexport (and parent company TrueGreen) appear to be serious about creating a low emissions transport industry for Australia. And there are plenty of serious investors that can also see a future in their electric vehicle venture.
Regardless of how long it takes to deliver 3,000 electric cars, Chris King and the team at Splend have drawn a line in the sand. They have take action towards a zero emission future and become the first fleet in Australia to place a bulk order of electric vehicles. Keep up the fight!