CHICAGO, (Xinhua) -- Uber driver Glen Snower loves his BYD Auto e6. As a driver for the American-based taxi service, he decided to work using an electric vehicle.
"I haven't been to a gas station in a year, except to get some water and some gum, and right now the gas prices are going up again, and it just puts more money in my pocket and less pollution in the air," he told Xinhua.
Uber, an American international transportation network company headquartered in San Francisco, California, lets drivers use their personal cars to drive around customers, but they've also partnered with GreenWheels, a Chicago-based eco-friendly automotive company to lend the BYD Auto e6 to drivers to use as a taxi.
Of course, riders want to use a taxi that is comfortable. Snower told Xinhua that the e6 meets that requirement: "It's full- size, very comfortable. It's a workhorse, it's got a lot of room in the back, a great entrance for people getting in and out, good trunk space, and dependable," he said.
The e6, a plug-in electric vehicle, needs to be charged between uses. Snower says that he takes lunch or dinner breaks while charging his e6, which he says gets about 200 miles (322 kilometers) per charge.
Thankfully, finding charging stations in Chicago isn't a challenge, according to Uber. "GreenWheels and BYD have both been investing in and building out (electric vehicle) infrastructure in Chicago, and the partnership was a natural fit for this pilot," Uber spokesperson Lauren Altmin told Xinhua.
Altmin says that Uber set up an informational session for electric vehicles and that dozens showed up. "More people were interested because electric vehicles are not things you see on the streets typically, and when you do, people notice, especially in the states," she said. "This is something people, especially in Chicago are interested in hearing about."
As BYD Auto has already moved into the U.S. fleet market with both its e6 and electric bus. Volvo, owned by Zhejiang Geely, a Chinese multinational automotive manufacturing company headquartered in Hangzhou, is preparing to ship the first-ever China-made vehicle targeted at the American consumer, the Volvo S60. Additionally, Guangzhou Automobile Group debuted the GS4 compact SUV at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, saying they would aim to make 2017 their first year of selling cars in the United States.