Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., Ltd. (GAC) announced that it has become a strategic investor of Uber China in Dec. 21, 2015. The investment amount was undisclosed. This can be part of Uber China’s (ongoing maybe) Series B round fundraising, with a valuation of $6-7 billion. Moreover, Uber filed documents for a $2.1 billion Series G round fundraising on Dec. 3, 2015, which could lead to a value of $64.6 billion afterwards.
GAC is controlled by Guangzhou Automobile Industry Group, which is a Fortune Global 500 company (ranked at No. 362 in 2015, with revenues of $33.237 billion in 2014). GAC’s revenues in the first 3 quarters of 2015 are $2.92 billion (or 18.95 billion yuan), increased by 21.2% as compared with the same period of 2014. The company also has joint ventures with carmakers such as Honda, Toyota and Fiat in China.
Uber and GAC will collaborate on promoting electric cars, besides investment, sales and marketing. GAC currently produces an electric SUV Trumpchi GS4 EV and a range-extended electric sedan (a type of plug-in hybrid) Trumpchi GA5 REV. Trumpchi GS4 EV has an electro-range (a car’s range on electric) of 150 miles (or 240 km) while Trumpchi GA5 REV’s electro-range is 50 miles (or 80 km). The carmaker will start to sell another 2 models in 2016 as well – plug-in hybrid sedan Trumpchi GA3S PHEV and SUV GS4 PHEV.
This partnership is believed to benefit GAC in terms of fast growth in the market of new energy cars, both domestically and globally. In first half of 2015, GAC was ranked at No. 3 in China in terms of the number of plug-in hybrid electric cars produced but was outside of top 10 for electric cars. On the other hand, the partnership can help Uber building up an environmental-friendly image. As a company offering ridesharing services, it has direct relevance to greenhouse gas emissions and our ecosystems, in a positive way. According to US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), transportation accounts for 27% of US greenhouse gas emissions and 90% of the fuel in this category consists of gasoline and diesel.
Uber, in March 2015, put a first fleet of 25 electric cars on the road of Chicago, in collaboration with Green Wheels and BYD. The electric cars are BYD e6, with a real-world range of about 140 miles.