Corner of Berkshire & Fairfax Message Board

General Category => Investment Ideas => Topic started by: ajc on May 13, 2019, 02:28:29 PM

Title: UBER - Uber Technologies
Post by: ajc on May 13, 2019, 02:28:29 PM

Made this a decent-sized position today. Still at 40% cash in my portfolio and I think tech IPO valuations remain largely bubblicious (https://twitter.com/tonyjclayton/status/1118205158721249280), but Uber's valuation seems reasonable here.
Might make it a larger position if it goes lower. Also, I might be earlyish. Usually I wait six months until the lock-up expires, but this sell-off looked like a good entry-point.
BTW, apologies for another unicorn thread. If the recent ones on Jumia, Pinterest, - and now Uber - don't concern you, nothing will.


Rough math & quick take

For a $63b market cap company, their total debt is relatively small. After the IPO, they now have $14b in cash. Their 15.4% stake in Didi is worth $12b and their 23.2% stake in Grab is worth $3b. Depending on how you frame it, you're paying 3x to 4x sales for the world's dominant Transport-as-a-Service (TaaS) business.

So far as competitive advantages go, I think scale matters on both the driver and rider side. For drivers, it's the most reliable and convenient go-to for a little extra income or employment. For riders, it has the greatest ubiquity and fastest pick-up times. This is true in the US and almost everywhere else.
I think size also gives Uber a very strong hand to deal with any future autonomous vehicle (AV) threat, since they are well positioned to use their equity for acquisitions and this will only be more true the bigger they get.

Basically, Uber has become synonymous with ride-hailing globally. New CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has also started to genuinely rehabilitate their image during his first 18 months on the job. They're not perfect (US driver protests, etc), but I think it's fair to say decent progress has been made. It's also worth noting that 75% of Uber's trips happen outside of the US. In the developing world anyway (India, South Africa, etc), working for Uber is still a very well-paying gig (https://www.bloomberg.com/amp/opinion/articles/2019-05-02/what-uber-left-behind-in-asia).

This ex-US strength and scale is also useful for Uber in a few ways. First, the AV threat is not really real there. Even if Waymo or Tesla hit their uber-aggressive (sorry, couldn't resist) goals for widescale AV deployment in the next few years, that would only be a story for the major urban environments in the US and to a certain extent Canada and Europe. Uber's huge markets across India, South America, and Africa, would basically be untouched since drivers in those places can't afford the AV cars in question.

And, that's not even addressing the issue of practical constraints given that total global production is only 70 million cars annually. Even if every car produced on Earth in 2020 were magically to become fully-autonomous from day one, those vehicles would still take a while to put a dent in the estimated 1b+ passenger cars in use worldwide today. So, I like that as a defensive aspect to Uber's business where even if the absolute worst AV case played out over the next 5 years for them in the developed world, they'd still have the time and scale to adjust and fight back by relying on their non-AV business.
Personally, I think the threat posed by Waymo and Tesla over the next 5 years is somewhat overstated but it's good to have a strong insurance policy to work with.

Another potential benefit I see for Uber in the developing world, is that if they run their US and European operations well that could also mean they'd have extra cash flow to pay drivers more and charge riders less in the developing world. Because companies like Ola in India or 99 in Brazil don't have a presence in the wealthiest global markets, that could end up giving Uber the deep pockets and financial firepower they need to make their platform more attractive to drivers and riders than their poorer, local rivals across those countries. In this way, Uber could well use its US and European businesses to cement its global dominance.

On the topic of cutting their losses substantially and becoming a profitable company, that question was addressed generally by management on Friday (see 4mins 15secs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=538rXsLnsYc). The interviewer noted that Lyft sees 2019 as their peak spending year and while not committing to 2019 being the same for Uber, Khosrowshahi did state that getting to profitability and ending any and all reliance on capital markets was now a key priority for Uber.

A few more remarks on why it's perhaps better to own the largest player in the space globally, how Uber can solidify their position, and what future growth opportunities they have....

UberEats is the obvious one. It's already a bigger business than Lyft. Expanding that in every territory gives riders more reason to open the app and provides more employment for drivers. It also allows Uber to create a grand Amazon Prime-like subscription package where you get better rates for doing all your TaaS business through them (like Ride Pass and their Eats subscription combined). Offering family packages, like you get for your cellphone contracts would help retain users and drivers. Loyalty points redeemable across the platform are another option. Discounts for Uber users when riding in international markets would be another incentive that could help shut out Lyft.

Another bunch of options is based mostly on how Gojek operates in SE Asia. With Gojek, you can order groceries, a masseuse, nail technician, house cleaner, and various other things or folks to your door. With its rating system for quality control and its speed and omnipresence, Uber is in some ways the perfect platform for new gig-economy businesses to be built on top of. Of course, Uber would be able to take a reasonable cut.
Josh Constine has also written recently about how Uber has some legitimate potential as an ad-platform, starting first with their Eats business (https://techcrunch.com/2018/12/10/uber-ads/) and the promotion of restaurants on it.

Finally, I think electric vehicles (EVs) are more likely to become widespread before AVs do. Studies have shown (https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/electric-cars-could-save-uber-and-lyft-drivers-5200-a-year) that EVs can save drivers more than $5000 per year in fuel (charging is cheaper) and upkeep costs (EVs have fewer moving and breakable parts). This could help alleviate tensions between drivers and Uber over the next decade in markets such as the US and EU, since it would mean more money to go around.

Overall even with a number of current drivers striking and a few concerns around slowing growth, I still think Uber is almost uniquely placed to build a substantial TaaS business globally around its core ride-sharing proposition as well as its Eats business. You also get its Freight business and self-driving unit thrown in, and I think their current Didi, Grab, and Yandex stakes could easily be worth far more 5 years from now. Grab especially, given that it's still growing revenue at 100% per year.
Essentially, I think this is a reasonable price to buy the stock at for a long-term investor.


Economics & the business model

The write-ups and threads that probably most informed my view on Uber's economics and financial model, were:

This by CB Insights -
https://www.cbinsights.com/research/report/how-uber-makes-money/

These three threads by @Valuetrap13 on the financials of their main US rival, Lyft -
https://twitter.com/Valuetrap13/status/1111695360467062784
https://twitter.com/Valuetrap13/status/1112047689183698945
https://twitter.com/Valuetrap13/status/1112870126616002561

This in-depth take by @TurnerNovak covering Uber and their opportunity set -
https://twitter.com/TurnerNovak/status/1120539665512189957


Title: Re: UBER - Uber Technologies
Post by: johnny on May 13, 2019, 03:33:42 PM
I don't feel comfortable with the scale/network-effects argument that I think Uber is promoting here.

The network effects in this industry are hyper-local. Uber's 10,000 active drivers in LA don't give it any real advantage in Phoenix--except perhaps when LA-natives are landing in PHX. But I'm not sure much enduring pricing power is to be gained from having the highest ride-sharing Q score. International travelers are already used to a process of figuring out what the best ridesharing app is for a specific country--I could see this becoming a more common routine for intra-national travel as well.

Better OS-level intermediation could make this even easier. I don't mean Apple/Google operating their own fleets, but simply going further in baking ride-sharing ordering (and price/ETA comparison) into their native maps apps. This already exists in a very hobbled form. Apple has the feature somewhat buried in the app, and it requires that you have already downloaded and registered in each app, in addition to explicitly opting-in for each service. So, as currently designed, it doesn't really serve the purpose at all. But I think it does illustrate the risk quite well.

The current limitations of the Maps-integrations might have a lot to do with the fact that the current ride-sharing providers understand that, since they have no ownership or control over the vehicles, and are quite literally sharing driver-partners, their only differentiation in the user-experience is on the app experience side. That is not a stable equilibrium though, because I can think of a few potential competitors who might have the exact inverse assessment: manufacturers.

How much does Uber's global scale help them when Ford decides to dump 1,000 Navigators, 3,000 Flexes, and 6,000 Fiestas into, say, Houston? For an industry that occasionally finds it has ten or twenty thousand extra vehicles just lying around it should be a somewhat disconcerting prospect. And if, upon landing in Houston, my Maps app is able to present and price the Ford network to me without forcing me to go through the Identify/Download/Register/Order app-flow, shouldn't we expect commodity pricing to become the order of the day in that market?

And if it can happen in one market, can't it happen in all?
Title: Re: UBER - Uber Technologies
Post by: Spekulatius on May 13, 2019, 03:38:56 PM
One of my concerns would be that both Uber and Lyft spent the cash from the IPOs on a turf war of driver incentives and rider discounts.
Title: Re: UBER - Uber Technologies
Post by: Jurgis on May 13, 2019, 08:31:18 PM
I'm still getting Uber discount offers although they are somewhat restricted and localized.

I think there is some stickiness to the app even if there's local competition. As a user you know the interface, you have the account set up, you know what to expect. Why would you install some other app unless it was radically cheaper? There's some segment that might install additional apps for 10% discount. It's unclear how big that segment is.

Internationally, Uber has some countries where it's the only choice. Local taxis still provide the rate ceiling though. I used Uber in Lithuania a lot. It's very cheap - but taxis are cheap too, so Uber can't really charge US or Western European prices.

Predictable and low wait times would be a benefit. Unfortunately, unlike dense urban areas in suburbs these predictions are rather imprecise. I'd be happy to choose Lyft vs. Uber if I really knew that Lyft will take 6 minutes to pickup vs 12 minutes for Uber. But in reality predictions are not true until you request a ride and may vary quite a lot from estimates. Boston suburb is not boonies, but I've had a situation where there was a single driver (!) within 15 minute radius on a perfectly normal day and time... I'm not sure that coverage without running up prices is a simple problem to solve though.

Edit: BTW in Lithuania pretty much all taxis and Uber's are Priuses. Gas prices being 2x US price does that.
Title: Re: UBER - Uber Technologies
Post by: ajc on May 14, 2019, 01:01:00 PM

@johnny

I think the job of the GM, F, and FCAU bosses is obviously to sell more cars, so it sounds unrealistic to say they're going to stick 10 000 spare vehicles in Houston so they can be used for ride-sharing. By flooding the market with that service you're 100% encouraging people there to no longer buy their own vehicles. By the end of the year, overall dealership sales in Houston drop from 50 000 vehicles to 25 000 for that manufacturer. The next step is expanding that strategy across Texas and the rest of NAFTA. They'd destroy their entire North American business. I think a Detroit CEO who tries that would be fired almost instantly and will never work for a traditional auto major again, anywhere.

That's not to mention the dealerships and their owners who are a crucial partner for GM, F, and FCAU, and have invested lots of time and money into their businesses. Imagine you recently bought a dealership in Houston with all the associated upfront costs and then 6 months later HQ decides they're going to flood your local market with vehicles for ride-sharing, making it impossible for you to sell the cars in your lot and recoup your investment? If any of the Detroit 3 wanted a bunch of apoplectic dealers, that's the best way to do it.

Tesla could theoretically do this since they're still small enough to not cannibalize their existing sales, they have a flexible start-up mentality and perhaps business model, and they don't rely on a dealer network. Then again, they lack cash so they need to sell cars not dump them, they can't afford right now to look like buyer demand is falling off a cliff, and if a play like this flopped completely because of poor execution it would invite even more difficult questions about Musk at a time when he's on thin ice.

On top of that, there are going on a million Uber drivers in the US at the moment so even if all the stars did align just perfectly and Tesla successfully deployed a certain amount of their annual production in this way with none of their usual, basic execution problems, it would still take 5 or 10 years for them to outmatch Uber scale-wise in the US alone, given current production rates.

Your point on network effects is fair. My bad for over-emphasizing that aspect when I wrote my pitch. In Uber's defense I don't think they're the ones pushing that argument hard, that was more me being an idiot. If I was guesstimating though I'd say maybe 10% of Uber users and drivers are in a situation where they do actually do enough travelling for work or fun for that effect to be meaningful. Maybe if you include kids who've gone off to college elsewhere considering they probably use Uber the most, then perhaps that number actually goes up to 15%. That's a total thumbsuck admittedly.

Also, I'd say users who move across national or international geographies aren't actually that interested in looking for real ride-sharing alternatives outside of the major providers. The image below shows only 2% of US rides are not handled by Uber or Lyft and this has been steady for years. Maybe investors like us who prefer to compare every stock to every other one are likely to overestimate that shopping-around diligence in regular people. I'd say Jurgis makes a good point too, about how you get familiar with the app and don't want to keep filling in your data on other ones if you've already got two downloaded. At any rate, the graph shows around 98% of American riders only want to do one comparison then ride.

I should've emphasized switching costs at the local level and how I think Uber will just incentivize users more and more over time to use their app pretty much exclusively. I don't think Amazon has particularly strong network effects either, but with a very wide selection, reasonable prices, super fast shipping, plus extras like movies, shows, music, etc, all wrapped up in an affordable Prime subscription, it can incentivize a lot of regular (even practically exclusive) use and loyalty.

In a similar way, I think it's sensible to say Uber emphasizes availability and speed wherever you go, together with a relatively safe and uniform experience - and usually delivers on those variables better than anyone else - plus through Rewards (https://www.uber.com/za/en/u/rewards/), Jump bikes and scooters (https://techcrunch.com/2019/02/08/ubers-jump-bikes-are-seeing-high-utilization-rates/), integrating with train and bus services (https://techcrunch.com/2019/04/30/assimilate/), etc, it seems clear they're solidly ahead of everyone in making a seamless, across-the-board solution for all your transport needs.

My thinking is that this all leads to a future where Uber bundles this stuff together for a monthly subscription fee and then gives riders and drivers all sorts of loyalty points (like you can currently earn) that can be redeemed for Uber Cash, priority pick-ups at airports, free Eats delivery, and maybe air miles if they do a deal with a few airlines (they have a great CEO for that). So, I see that solution for all your mobility needs in a monthly subscription package with some sweet loyalty point rewards going a long way towards entrenching Uber's position and driving most user behavior in their direction.

I think all that kind of eventually leaves disintermediation of the app by Google or Apple as less likely than might be assumed. I mean how good are Google or Apple at stopping you from using your Prime subscription if you want to shop online or watch a movie? Not very. Not even close.
People might price compare in Google Maps exclusively some day, but if they already have their Uber monthly subscription/family plan, and they know they earn loyalty points, air miles, and free Eats deliveries the more they use it, then how likely are they to switch even in the improbable event that ACME ride-sharing corporation can offer you a car for 50 cents cheaper though you'll just have to trust their driver supply is large and vetted enough to arrive at you sooner and safer than Uber.

On the topic of how their 10 000 drivers in LA help them in Phoenix, I'm with you that there's not much network effect but I would argue the economies of scale they have can potentially help them defend their overall dominance. I mean, if a person agrees that Uber's model can lead them to becoming solidly cash flow positive then the amount of cash flow that would produce would allow Uber to see off any competitors who decided to go after any specific metro market. Take Phoenix for example...

ACME ridesharing corporation thinks it's a great idea to start a competing ridesharing business there in the year 2025 when Uber is generating some real cash flow.
So, ACME raises a bunch of money and undercuts Uber by 50 cents per ride.
Well in that situation, Uber could simply drop their prices by 1 dollar per ride in that market for the next 24 months and bleed ACME to death.
In other words, now that Uber has reached scale, they are in a position where having a nicely cash flow positive business allow them to really defend their business from anyone who wanted to attack without really being hurt too much in the process. So yeah, it's not a network effect but it's still great to have those 10 000 drivers in LA and another 15 000 in New York, etc, bringing cash through the door so that if you have to fight a price battle in Phoenix then you'll have the means to do it.

Anyway, I should've emphasized the way Uber will likely incentivize users to almost exclusively stick with their app though I do think there are some network effects for a certain percentage of users and with potential future airline deals and increased personal travel that effect might grow a little stronger.
Also, I think the scale Uber has - in the event they get cash flow positive sooner rather than later - will allow them to starve any smaller competitors who try to come after them by discounting their offerings in specific markets. I think that gives them a pretty nice defensible position once they stop losing money.


@Spekulatius

Lyft has already said this year will be their biggest for spending and they'll bring it down going forward (see the video I linked to in my original post).
That means fewer subsidies and price cuts in future.
Also, Uber has better economies of scale and already pays their drivers way better (https://www.thestreet.com/personal-finance/education/how-much-do-uber-lyft-drivers-make-14804869) so it's probably preferable to bet on Uber since they'd have more competitive leverage.


Title: Re: UBER - Uber Technologies
Post by: wabuffo on May 14, 2019, 01:22:23 PM
Ajc - have you studied the actual earnings of Uber drivers and what the effects will be as Uber tries to end driver subsidies and/or take a greater portion of the fare?  It seems to me that there is a very limited number of drivers willing to accept bottom-10 percentile wages (before even accounting for vehicle expenses).  I've seen some serious academic studies that seem to indicate that Uber is taking advantage of informational assymetries initially about true costs per mile but that drivers are becoming more aware of how little they are making.

You add that to the large subsidies to riders, and the high overhead costs of Uber vs local cab companies - its hard to see a path to ever getting to acceptable returns to shareholders. 

wabuffo
Title: Re: UBER - Uber Technologies
Post by: Spekulatius on May 15, 2019, 04:02:37 AM
AJC and wabuffo, thanks dort he pro and con discussion, itís quite helpful. It seems to me that from the business models presented here, itís one of the tougher and higher risk ones. Compared to for example SPOT, I find it much easier to construct and investment case with the latter. Both have their challenges as marketplaces (content generators, vs drivers, lower gross margins ), but SPOT really doesnít have the cash burn that Uber and Lyft have.. I donít own either one, but I think I would rather bet on SPOT than the ride hailers at this point.
Title: Re: UBER - Uber Technologies
Post by: ajc on May 15, 2019, 05:04:27 AM


Ajc - have you studied the actual earnings of Uber drivers and what the effects will be as Uber tries to end driver subsidies and/or take a greater portion of the fare?  It seems to me that there is a very limited number of drivers willing to accept bottom-10 percentile wages (before even accounting for vehicle expenses).  I've seen some serious academic studies that seem to indicate that Uber is taking advantage of informational assymetries initially about true costs per mile but that drivers are becoming more aware of how little they are making.

You add that to the large subsidies to riders, and the high overhead costs of Uber vs local cab companies - its hard to see a path to ever getting to acceptable returns to shareholders. 

wabuffo



wabuffo, I tend to use data from folks like the Ridesharing Guy and Ridester (https://www.ridester.com/uber-lyft-driver-costs-and-expenses/) more because then you also get to hear what drivers are saying about their experiences but I'm aware of the studies you mentioned.
Uber earnings definitely differ based on location globally. The same is true of places in the US. If you go through this really excellent ridesharing report - http://www.businessofapps.com/data/uber-statistics/ - there's a line that states "based on (a) survey of 1,200 drivers conducted in early 2018 by The Rideshare Guy show median Uber earnings of $15-19.99 before expenses. The same report found that drivers believed they should be earning 31% more."

Also, if you look at that same report you'll see it's actually less than 10% of drivers who are strongly dissatisfied with their experience working for Uber and that percentage is dropping. You can also see that around 75% of Uber drivers are either neutral, somewhat satisfied, or strongly satisfied with their experience driving for Uber.
Further, while 55% of drivers say pay matters most to them, there are also 35% of drivers who say flexible work hours matter most.

Anyway, I'll stop going on about the report (http://www.businessofapps.com/data/uber-statistics/) though I do think it's super insightful, full of useful data, and everyone should read it.
Either way, while I think it's worth noting that there are definitely drivers who earn very little and feel like they're getting ripped off, they tend to be a vocal minority and the reality is that the vast majority of Uber drivers seem to be okay with the platform.

It's also true (see image below) that outside the US, Uber drivers get paid multiples of whatever their local minimum wage is. Anywhere between 3x to 8x that number really.
This great thread (https://twitter.com/modestproposal1/status/1118250501320204290) about Uber's financials more generally, tries to breakdown the overall business into smaller pieces.
One thing I'd note is that if drivers internationally (which is where 53% of Uber's revenues already come from) are being paid such high multiples of their local minimum wages, then once those markets get closer to maturity it seems theoretically possible that Uber could make substantial cuts there to drive profitability.
Also, given that the developing world is growing GDP faster and is far less aggressive about setting the minimum wage bar high because they prioritize job creation, I think this makes well more than half of Uber's business going forward very different from their US or European markets.

Back to those 10% of US drivers who are very unhappy since I think Uber's developing world business has much less to worry about on the future profitability front.
I'd say that pushing EVs is a big part of the solution.
As I noted in my original post, an EV can save a ridesharing driver over $5000 per year in expenses (https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/electric-cars-could-save-uber-and-lyft-drivers-5200-a-year#gs.c1mqyy).
Fortunately, US drivers who are unhappy about their pay will be some of the best positioned to take advantage of this fact because North America will likely receive a significant share of new EV production over the next 5 to 10 years.
If you just use incredibly rough numbers, Uber has around 1 million US drivers. The 10% of truly dissatisfied ones account for about 100 000 people.
Tesla's Model 3 production this year alone will probably be around 400 000 vehicles.
Further, VW is due to go into EV production in Zwickau by the end of 2019 at a plant that will produce over 300 000 EVs per year (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-14/vw-cranks-up-electric-car-plants-to-overtake-tesla-s-capacity).
Tesla has recently opened a leasing program for Model 3's in the US that starts at $399 per month (https://electrek.co/2019/05/03/tesla-model-3-monthly-lease-payment-399/). I wouldn't be surprised if VW did something similar starting in 2020.
In other words, the opportunity for US Uber drivers to cut their costs by thousands of dollars each year is already basically here and the company is attempting to push more drivers into owning an EV (https://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-uber-electric-vehicles-20180619-story.html).

One other way Uber is trying to assist and add value for drivers while at the same time making them more loyal to the platform, is via their new Driver Rewards Program which gives you cash back, free roadside assistance, and 100% tuition coverage, among other things (see 2nd image below). I'm not sure what the dollar value of that stuff is, but I like how Uber is using its scale to negotiate benefits for its drivers.

Finally, maybe the best thread I've seen so far on the Uber business model is the one Turner Novak did (https://twitter.com/TurnerNovak/status/1120539665512189957). If you scroll down through it, you'll see the Uber Jump electric bike and scooter opportunity is potentially very big since in the US most urban trips are actually less than 3 miles long.
The economics of bike/scooter trips have far higher margins because you don't have to pay a driver.
If Uber can figure that business out, like it seems they're starting to (https://techcrunch.com/2019/02/08/ubers-jump-bikes-are-seeing-high-utilization-rates/), then that can make their US business look far better.

Overall, I think Uber does have issues in the US for some drivers but there are technologies arriving that can address this on both the EV and electric bike/scooter side.
Also, I think international will become an ever bigger part of their revenues and they seemingly have a good amount of room to cut there in order to become profitable.


Title: Re: UBER - Uber Technologies
Post by: DTEJD1997 on May 15, 2019, 07:48:27 AM
AJC:

I don't think UBER has anywhere near the capacity to cut wages INTERNATIONALLY than you think.  The "high" foreign wages have a component of depreciation & wear & tear on the vehicle.  Those international drivers are getting "higher" wages because they are supplying a vehicle to drive with.

There is also NO WAY that only about 10% of Uber drivers in USA are upset with wages.  I know several attorneys that drive Uber, and they are either upset OR neutral on pay.  Several of them pretty much only drive at peak times to increase their income.

If Uber & Lift stop their incentives to start driving ($500 for 100 rides), then they are going to have very few new drivers, maybe not even enough to replace those that leave.

I also don't think that USA drivers are suddenly going to start making $$$ by switching over to EV.  I am going to guess that the average value of a vehicle being driven in USA is $10k to $15k.  That is much less capital outlay than $35k+ for an EV.  EV may also have recharging problems?  Range on TSLA cars is about 250 miles?  Is that sufficient for a 8-10-12 hour driving shift?  Maybe?  Maybe not?

We will see, but I am going to hazard a guess that UBER is going to have start serious inroads towards profitability in the next 12 months or so.
Title: Re: UBER - Uber Technologies
Post by: ajc on May 15, 2019, 10:31:59 AM

DTEJD1997, I live in South Africa. Uber here pays 5x the minimum wage on average. In Brazil it's 3x and in India 8x (see image below). I can tell you from personal experience that they almost certainly can make substantial cuts here to what they pay and it would still be a very good gig for locals.

Down the road from me there's a Shoprite, which is sort of our version of a Walmart (US) or Tesco (United Kingdom). They pay their cashiers and shelf-stackers R3500 (US$250) per month, which is a little over minimum wage here. Uber drivers on the other hand can pull down R15000 per month, without too much hassle, if they work full-time. This checks out from the experiences I've had using the service and seeing what was paid, how it was split, etc. Here's a recent Mail & Guardian article (https://mg.co.za/article/2018-06-18-11-uber-taxify-drivers-v-corporate) also, which is sort of our version of Britain's Guardian newspaper, saying "drivers make about R16 000 a month". The same article claims fuel and insurance cost are about R5000 per month in total.

To give you an idea of what that means, the average salary for an attorney in Cape Town is R17000 and the average for a software engineer is R24000 even though this city is home to one of Africa's most well-paying legal communities and our startup ecosystem is perhaps the most important and robust on the entire continent. In other words, Uber drivers here get paid as much or nearly as much as some of the best jobs across the country. All this, and you don't even need a college degree to do it.

Not that Uber would, but even if they did pay drivers here R8000 instead of R16000 per month, those drivers would still be earning just less than minimum wage after paying for fuel and insurance. That's in a country where the national unemployment rate is 27% by the way, so this is still undoubtedly a place where any job is better than none. For perspective, today you'd have no problem buying an Uber-ready 2016 model used car here in good condition for around R75000 (just over US$5000). Drivers here making R16000 per month wouldn't seem to have nearly the issues with depreciation versus earnings that you're theorizing.

By the way, India is an even bigger market and at 8x the minimum wage as their Uber pay average, they potentially have even more room for cuts. I'm not saying drivers in SA or India would like it, in fact it'd piss them off incredibly, but if Uber is smart and increases pay at only 3% a year when inflation often runs at 6% or more in fast-growing, developing economies, they could increase their margins over time while still paying a very good wage to drivers here over the long-term.

The 8% strongly dissatisfied figure was from a survey by The Rideshare Guy (see here https://therideshareguy.com/2018-uber-and-lyft-driver-survey-results-the-rideshare-guy/) which came from the excellent Business of Apps report (http://www.businessofapps.com/data/uber-statistics/). That number was down from the previous year. There were also 17% somewhat dissatisfied drivers. 75% of drivers were either neutral or satisfied. The survey had over 1000 respondents and The Rideshare Guy blog is perhaps the best and most popular online blog for Uber, Lyft, and Doordash drivers who want to learn about which service is best, how to make more money, etc.

That survey could well be skewed since that blog is visited by people who prefer to find ways to save money and increase earnings rather than sit around complaining, but then again there will always be those who do.
I don't mean to say Uber shouldn't try improve things for their US drivers because some of the problems you mention are clearly real and deserve proper attention, but it's worth noting that with 1 million US drivers and 250 000 of them in the dissatisfied bucket you are naturally going to hear a lot of vocal people on social media and elsewhere making a lot of loud criticisms. Again, I think it's best for Uber to try address them as effectively as possible, but I also think no matter what you do there will always be those who are unhappy.
I think this will remain the case while ICE vehicles are so heavily used on Uber, since I'm not sure their economics sometimes make sense. Best for those folks, I believe, to switch to EVs as soon as possible.

The article I posted about the Tesla Model 3 leasing (https://electrek.co/2019/05/03/tesla-model-3-monthly-lease-payment-399/) says you need $4500 cash down and then the lease payments are $399 monthly. There's no need to pay the $35000 upfront. Just over time. The average range of Uber earnings in the US seems to be $15 to $25 per hour before expenses (https://www.ridester.com/how-much-do-uber-drivers-make/). At $15/hour on the very low end, if you drive 40 hours per week you make $600 per week and $2600 per month.
Charging a Tesla at home during off-peak hours will give you a full charge for the whole of the next day and it'll cost you $13 for the charge (https://www.solarreviews.com/blog/how-much-does-it-cost-to-charge-a-tesla-is-it-the-same-as-the-cost-to-charge-other-electric-vehicles). That represents a car charging bill of just under $400 per month. A full Model 3 charge lasts 220 miles for the standard range model and 310 miles for the long range model. Working 40 hours per week for Uber likely means daily miles driven of around 150 (https://ride.guru/lounge/p/how-many-miles-do-uber-and-lyft-drivers-put-on-their-cars), so no need for any interim charging expenses.

At this point, after paying your lease of $400, and your charging costs of $400, you're left with $1800 from your monthly Uber earnings to pay insurance ($1300 annually according to Ridester) and license, registration, plus vehicle taxes ($500 annually according to Ridester - https://www.ridester.com/uber-lyft-driver-costs-and-expenses/). Those charges come to a total of $150 monthly then. That leaves $1650 from your $2600, and you'll need let's say $150 per month for tires and maintenance (even though EVs have fewer moving parts and require far less maintenance than gas guzzlers).
In other words, after all expenses it looks like 40 hours per week will clear an Uber driver using an EV option intelligently, somewhere around $1500 per month after costs at the very low end of the driver pay range. Those numbers look noticeably above the US minimum wage of $7.25 per hour or $290.00 per week for a 40 hour week. Glad to have those assumptions corrected by yourself or other forum members if I managed to screw them up.


Title: Re: UBER - Uber Technologies
Post by: merkhet on May 15, 2019, 10:57:44 AM
ajc, you may have overlooked the 10,000 mile annual limit for the Tesla lease at that price.
Title: Re: UBER - Uber Technologies
Post by: ajc on May 15, 2019, 11:25:43 AM

ajc, you may have overlooked the 10,000 mile annual limit for the Tesla lease at that price.



My bad, thanks for pointing that out. Here's one via The Rideshare Guy with a Chevy Bolt EV though, which does 200 to 250 miles on a single charge. Unlike the $35000 Tesla it can be got for below $25000 with incentives and rebates (https://therideshareguy.com/driving-a-chevy-bolt-ev-for-rideshare/).

It's not the $10k to $15k per vehicle that DTEJD1997 was talking about, but maybe if a person stretched and saved and put in some extra ridesharing hours with their existing ICE vehicle then after a year the $25k EV is within reach. Further, with VW likely entering the US market next year to compete (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-14/vw-cranks-up-electric-car-plants-to-overtake-tesla-s-capacity) we might see some generous introductory prices or incentives by folks like GM who still want to remain in the fight.

Maybe there are strict limits on all EV leasing programs like that Tesla Model 3 has, I'm not sure. However, Uber's EV leasing program in Portland from 2017 suggests there might be some car companies that are willing to lease to full-time ridesharing drivers for around $100 per week (see https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2017/04/uber-electric-vehicles-leasing-program-portland-oregon/522759/) so I'm not sure my thinking here is a million miles off. Others might disagree.


Title: Re: UBER - Uber Technologies
Post by: ajc on May 15, 2019, 12:14:23 PM

Here's a Chinese EV coming to the US in 2019 (https://cleantechnica.com/2019/02/22/us-approves-chinese-electric-cars-imported-from-kandi/).
Their K22 model will sell for below $20 000 before rebates.
It has a range of 125 miles which is almost enough for a whole day rideshare driver today. If you drove home for lunch and charged it for an hour, it'd be fine.
As their batteries become more efficient, I think it's fair to say it'll be enough for full-time Uber use.
It's not a $10 000 to $15 000 car like DTEJD1997 mentioned, but after subsidies it's darn close.


Title: Re: UBER - Uber Technologies
Post by: wabuffo on May 15, 2019, 12:24:39 PM
Ajc - thanks for posting all of that info.   Very interesting reads.

Question -- if EVs become ubiquitous due to cost their advantages over gasoline/diesel powered vehicles, why won't the "fuel savings" be competed away?   If its a good deal, cab companies and other ride-sharing competitors will come out with EV fleets and everyone (including the driver and UBER) is back to square one.   

Its like Buffett's textile mills, the capex might look like it has great returns, but if competitors also do it, then no one has an advantage.   Its like watching a parade, the first person to rise onto their tippy-toes gets a momentary better view, until the entire crowd stands on its toes.

wabuffo

Title: Re: UBER - Uber Technologies
Post by: Jurgis on May 15, 2019, 12:47:06 PM
As a cheapskate customer, I think Uber/Lyft have space to increase prices without forcing me to take cabs. There are definitely trips that I would not take if prices increased ("Uber-vs-drive-myself-and-pay-for-parking", "Uber-vs-complicated-public-transport"), but there are trips that I would still have to take and probably take up to the taxi prices ("Go to airport"). They can also probably have more "partial surge" pricing, which might be tough to avoid. So from customer point of view, I'm afraid Uber/Lyft will start pushing prices up. Whether that's enough to justify investor point of view to invest into the stock, I'm not sure.

I'm not sure how it's in US, but in Lithuania wait charges can be annoying. The price of a ride is so low that couple minutes of driver waiting can up the price of the trip 10-20%. I understand that this is a nice way for drivers and Uber to get extra revenue, but the customer does not get a discount if the driver is late...

Which brings me to the anecdotal observation that it seems like a large percentage of Lithuanian Uber drivers casually hang out at home with app running. The scenario plays out as follows: I order Uber, it shows 6 minute arrival time, and then... the car on the map does not move at all for 2-4 minutes. Pretty sure the driver was just at home and then went to their car after accepting the trip. I'm not against this on principle, but it adds waiting time for customer. And it's asymmetric with customer being charged for waiting the moment driver hits the pick up spot.

Electric scooters for rent seem to be a big thing right now in Lithuania. I did not try it, since you have to get an app and I'm not sure if the app would accept my US credentials. So maybe if they were offered by Uber, I would have tried them. Not sure. Most of the time I'd either choose to walk or to take a car (Uber) rather than taking a scooter. Might change my mind if I lived/worked/etc in more urban area. And in Lithuania there's tons of scooters in city center, but you can't really get one if you're even just outside the center. So it seems the convenience/availability is mostly for trips from center to suburbs, but not really in the other direction.
Title: Re: UBER - Uber Technologies
Post by: SHDL on May 15, 2019, 01:16:12 PM
Not much to say about this beyond what was discussed in the pre-IPO thread:

http://www.cornerofberkshireandfairfax.ca/forum/general-discussion/uber-filing-for-ipo/

I'm still pretty skeptical about this but I do enjoy reading the counterarguments. 
Title: Re: UBER - Uber Technologies
Post by: DTEJD1997 on May 15, 2019, 08:19:40 PM

Here's a Chinese EV coming to the US in 2019 (https://cleantechnica.com/2019/02/22/us-approves-chinese-electric-cars-imported-from-kandi/).
Their K22 model will sell for below $20 000 before rebates.
It has a range of 125 miles which is almost enough for a whole day rideshare driver today. If you drove home for lunch and charged it for an hour, it'd be fine.
As their batteries become more efficient, I think it's fair to say it'll be enough for full-time Uber use.
It's not a $10 000 to $15 000 car like DTEJD1997 mentioned, but after subsidies it's darn close.
AJC:

I think that UBER drivers in foreign countries make MORE than their home countries minimum wage largely because they are SUPPLYING the vehicle.  Let us say that UBER lowers the wage of the driver to minimum wage or close to it...what driver would drive for them?  I can't think too many would do that!  A car in most foreign countries takes more hours of labor to earn than it does in the USA.  I would think is especially the case in Africa and India...thus UBER drivers make substantially more than minimum wage in those places.  Could UBER lower the wages of drivers in those places?  Maybe? Probably?  but I think there is less slack than what you are initially thinking.

The successful UBER drivers that I know in the USA follow demand pricing AND they also have LYFT.  They run both apps simultaneously to get fares AND to get the highest paying ones.  The drivers ALSO have researched their car selection VERY carefully.  They are getting heavily depreciated cars that are still reasonably dependable and cheap to drive.  The most flash for the cash.  Think $10k or a bit less.  Drive them for a 1-2 years and then sell & replace.  You've got to own these vehicles, you can't lease them.  I am not sure that a brand new $35k+ Tesla would work.  A $20k electric vehicle?  Hmmm...maybe?  I wonder how reliable it will be though?

In different countries and different areas of the USA, electric cars may work.  I am not so sure that they will work in all USA cities.  For example, for me to get to the main Detroit airport, it is about a 30 mile drive.  When I had a job it was about a 35 mile commute EACH WAY.  Many residents live at least 10-15 miles from the city center.  So if you were doing an 8 hour shift AND you had to go the airport (lucrative run), you would have to recharge, maybe recharge twice even?  You would have to be EXTREMELY careful not to run out of electricity while out on a run.  So maybe once you get to about 10%, you've got to recharge?

So I'm not sure that EV will solve UBER's problems.
Title: Re: UBER - Uber Technologies
Post by: ajc on May 18, 2019, 08:35:21 AM


Ajc - thanks for posting all of that info.   Very interesting reads.

Question -- if EVs become ubiquitous due to cost their advantages over gasoline/diesel powered vehicles, why won't the "fuel savings" be competed away?   If its a good deal, cab companies and other ride-sharing competitors will come out with EV fleets and everyone (including the driver and UBER) is back to square one.   

Its like Buffett's textile mills, the capex might look like it has great returns, but if competitors also do it, then no one has an advantage.   Its like watching a parade, the first person to rise onto their tippy-toes gets a momentary better view, until the entire crowd stands on its toes.

wabuffo




No problem. I don't think the textile mill example applies. Those have no real barriers to entry. There were likely dozens or more textile mills in the US then, and vastly more overseas. That makes for a race to the bottom.

I can't think of a large scale duopoly that didn't have either key competitive advantages as a result of their scale, or at least a few major barriers to entry.
By definition, a duopoly almost can't develop if the barriers to entry are negligible, so the fact that ridesharing has moved from 100's of competitors globally since 2011 to only two majors in each region, is strong evidence that ridesharing has formidable barriers to entry.
If anything it's our understanding of them and how they work that's likely non-existent, rather than the barriers to entry themselves.


EVs and their impact on the economics of ridesharing

To give some general ridesharing context, I think the importance of an EV revolution shouldn't be understated. The average price of gas/gallon has gone from $1.00 in 1998 to $2.50 as of 2019 (https://www.energy.gov/eere/vehicles/fact-915-march-7-2016-average-historical-annual-gasoline-pump-price-1929-2015). Same with oil production where exploration, capital, operating, and tax costs, have risen at essentially the same rate (https://www.bbc.com/news/business-15462923).
The price of your average new ICE car in the US was $17 000 in 1990, but by 2013 it was over $30 000 (http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/70yearsofpricechange.html). ICE vehicles have far more moving and breakable parts than EVs, so each year you spend more money on maintenance and repair costs too.
Essentially for ICE vehicles, the cost of everything (including the car itself) increases on average over time. Uber wants to lower prices for riders, but drivers want more money so they can cover rising expenses. The incentives are competely at odds with each other.

On the other hand, in 2010 your two EV choices were basically a Tesla Roadster for $100 000 with a 200 mile range or a Nissan Leaf for $33 000 before rebates with a 100 mile range. Today EVs are far cheaper.
A Model 3 starts at $35 000 with a 250 mile range and a Kandi K22 costs $20 000 before rebates with a 125 mile range. This is possible because battery efficiency has improved and costs have fallen from $1160/kWh in 2010 to less than $200/kWh today. Current forecasts are that prices will drop to $94/kWh by 2024 and $62/kWh by 2030 (https://about.bnef.com/blog/behind-scenes-take-lithium-ion-battery-prices/).

What does this drop in battery prices mean for EV prices and range over the next decade? A $15 000 Hawtai EV, will theoretically have a 190 mile range by 2030 up from 96 miles today (https://cleantechnica.com/2018/11/03/china-has-record-electric-car-sales-month-china-electric-car-sales-report/).
If Renault can upgrade the $8 000 Twizy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renault_Twizy) to be a little more like a Smart ForTwo or Smart ForFour car, then the 62 mile range you get today would translate to a 176 mile range by 2030. Maybe you'd need to pay $10 000 instead of $8 000 for the slightly larger body and chassis, but it would still be incredibly affordable.

Residential solar has gone from 52 cents per kWh in 2010, to 10 cents today, and the US government goal for 2030 is 5 cents (https://www.energy.gov/eere/solar/sunshot-2030). If this efficiency carries over, the current $400 monthly cost for charging your EV overnight during off-peak hours would fall to $200 per month.
Basically, by 2030 it's not absurd that a full-time Uber driver could buy a $10 000 EV with a 170 mile range that costs $200 to charge fully each month. The only other running costs would be new tires and insurance, vehicle tax, etc, since EVs have close to no maintenance fees.

If you depreciate that theoretical $10 000 EV over a decade, add $200 per month for insurance, license, registration, plus vehicle taxes (https://www.ridester.com/uber-lyft-driver-costs-and-expenses/), $200 per month for charging costs, and $400 for a new set of tires each year, you end up with monthly running costs of just over $500 overall by 2030.
Today's Uber drivers earn $15 to $20 per hour before subtracting depreciation, operating costs, etc (https://www.ridester.com/how-much-do-uber-drivers-make/). That means $600 per week at the low end. If you minus the $120 theoretical weekly all-in operating cost of a 2030 Twizy-like EV, that leaves the driver with $480 per week net at the bottom end of today's Uber pay scale.

Assuming the current minimum US weekly wage of $290 goes up to $350 or even $400 by 2030, that still means by 2030 even the lowest paid Uber drivers today will be earning far more than the minimum wage even after accounting for all expenses. In other words, EVs do change the dynamics completely and will allow Uber drivers to earn much fairer net salaries over the next decade.
It also means as cheaper and longer range EVs become more mainstream and widely available, so the pay tensions between Uber and their driver community will become less of an issue. In fact with the projected battery and EV improvements by 2030, Uber wouldn't need to even increase driver pay for the next decade in order for Uber drivers to earn radically more.


Potential barriers to entry across the ridesharing industry

We can see Uber and Lyft still account for 97% of all ridesharing trips in the US after many years (https://secondmeasure.com/datapoints/ubers-not-as-bad-off-as-you-think/), so something's going on. I think one key thing is driver down time and miles unpaid versus miles paid. Part of what keeps drivers using Uber and stops ACME ridesharing from gaining share is the miles unpaid to miles paid ratio. ACME rideshare will have no option but to have a very high starting ratio, so they'd need to pay drivers a lot more per ride.
The finance self-help guy, Mr Money Mustache, did a test and found a miles unpaid to miles paid ratio of roughly 1:1 for his Uber drives (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2017/11/22/mr-money-mustache-uber-driver/).

Say an Uber driver needs to ride 4 miles to pick up a fare who travels for 4 miles in the car and they get paid $8 total. Uber is then paying them $1 per mile driven. ACME would have far fewer drivers and riders for the first few years or more. If the average ACME driver had to ride 8 miles (because of lower driver and rider density) to reach their fare, and their rider also took a 4 mile trip, then that driver moved 12 miles instead of the 8 the Uber one did.
ACME would have to pay their driver $12 for that same 4 mile paid ride to make sure their driver got the right amount per total miles driven. Expenses and depreciation obviously only care about total miles driven, nothing else.

That would be an impossible trick for ACME to pull off. In 2018, Uber did over 140 million trips (400 000 per day) in New York (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/17/nyregion/uber-taxi-drivers-struggle.html).
If ACME rideshare wanted to take over NYC, they'd need to start paying their drivers maybe 50% more than Uber per ride in order to make the economics work on a total miles driven basis. I think the average Uber trip costs $15 or so. You can do some rough math yourself. It's ugly.
In my view, this is a big part of the reason why Uber and Lyft control 97% of the US market. Astronomical amounts of money would be needed just for another company to have the chance to properly compete.

Then you have to consider Uber's backing from Saudi Arabia and the Softbank Vision Fund. Saudi Arabia's PIF owns a $3.5b stake directly and the Vision Fund (which has strong Saudi state participation) owns an $11b stake. Let's say like Juno did in 2016, someone wants to try take share in New York after raising $80m (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-juno-fundraising-idUSKCN1232A5).
Why would the Saudi's or Softbank not lend Uber another $100m or $200m just to crush the competition? That doesn't seem like a lot to spend in order to protect a multi-billion dollar investment that could be worth far more a decade from now. I think almost every small startup or VC is well aware of how deep Uber's pockets might be.

Johnny mentioned Google or Apple could potentially build price comparison into their apps and disintermediate Uber and Lyft. If enough drivers switched over to use that as their primary dashboard, it might take care of the miles unpaid problem since they'd be piggybacking off the Uber and Lyft driver/rider bases.
It's a fair point but I think the thing is Uber and Lyft don't have to offer Google or Apple, visibility into their specific ride pricing. As long as Uber and Lyft benefit from it as an extra customer acquisition channel, that's fine.
If they saw their share eroding though, they'd simply pull their data. If anything, Google or Apple would likely take the bigger hit since their apps would have far less functional value in the future on-demand world of 2025 or 2030.

Plus, there's also an already sizeable and growing dissatisfaction with the FAANGs from a market dominance perspective. In a theoretical case where Alphabet tried essentially subsuming two other tech companies worth a combined $100b through their own platform, would Alphabet be perceived as less monopolistic or more?
Also, Alphabet owns Waze Carpool and Waymo. Is it market abuse for them to use their platform to degrade Uber or Lyft's market share, when there's a clear conflict of interest?
I think the FAANG companies are in a tough spot and it's getting tougher. They're going to be scrutinized far more heavily going forward. Growing numbers of important Dems and GOPers are becoming more vocal with their criticisms. While I don't think Uber is an angel, it does really help that they're still far smaller than the FAANGs and at least part of an obvious duopoly.

Other potential barriers to entry are insurance as well as regulatory burden. There's a subscription-only article I don't have access to (https://seekingalpha.com/article/4249415-lyft-insurance-path-profitability) which likely argues that the sizable insurance operations required by Uber and Lyft, together with the reluctance of insurance companies to do business with ridesharing companies (https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/williamalden/meet-the-guy-who-solved-ubers-insurance-problem), constitutes a significant barrier to entry.
Furthermore, ridesharing these days requires working very closely with local and federal governments on a ton of issues. Uber and Lyft have a lot of compliance experience by now and the cost of this might be prohibitive for some small potential challengers.

Finally, it's worth making a few quick comparisons with Amazon. Amazon had no real network effects and instead focused on having greater selection in books and then all other categories, shipping faster, and pricing affordably. Uber is in many ways the same, since it focused on maximizing geographic coverage, having the quickest pick up times, and the most affordable pricing. There's a very good piece (https://hackernoon.com/the-network-effects-of-ubers-master-plan-or-why-travis-kalanick-is-captain-nemo-46d521a03b2d) with numerous links on the similarities between Amazon and Uber by Whitney Zimmerman. I'd say it's 100% recommended reading.
In it, he addresses what Uber Prime would look like and how it would create some very strong incentives for users to make Uber their default app for many things logistics-related.

I think this makes sense. We're already seeing Ride Pass and family plans offering a kind of early-stage bundled subscription option. This is logical when you consider that Uber's JUMP bikes for short, inner-city trips are already available, and how Uber Eats is currently driving incremental users onto their ridesharing platform (https://twitter.com/BluegrassCap/status/1128322898857476096).
Uber's Rewards program for drivers and riders also already offers discounts on other related products and the opportunity to earn points that can be used for other services across Uber.
To me, a subscription option from Uber with rewards attached, is the obvious move for them over the next 5 years and once Uber can deliver anything to you or take you wherever you want to go, it really becomes difficult to see why you wouldn't want to pay one low, monthly fee for that kind of option.

In the end, I think one or two of the things I've listed above wouldn't really represent a super strong barrier to entry. When you put them together though, and realize all the incentives are pushing people on both the driver and user side to ever-increasing engagement with the Uber platform, I think folks have a lot of reasons to stick around and use Uber more and more heavily as each year goes by.


Title: Re: UBER - Uber Technologies
Post by: muscleman on May 18, 2019, 08:44:09 AM
ajc, I disregard any such EV economics analysis without taking into account the depreciation of the battery itself, which is the bulk part of a Tesla price.
I heard some claim that batteries can last 200k miles and still have 80% capacity, but some others say the battery dies after 8 years. It seems to me that gasoline car makers want to say the latter and EV makers want to say the former. I haven't seen any objective study on the battery yet.
Title: Re: UBER - Uber Technologies
Post by: wabuffo on May 18, 2019, 09:11:48 AM
Quote
The finance self-help guy, Mr Money Mustache, did a test and found a miles unpaid to miles paid ratio of roughly 1:1 for his Uber drives

Yes - and he also found that his net pay was just $7/hr. That jives with another more exhaustive study I've seen that pegged the net hourly rate at $9/hr - but they miscalculated car expense because they did not include an estimate for dead-heading miles like Mr Mustache did.  I think this is a problem especially since Uber is trying to raise its percentage of the gross fare vs its drivers during its run-up to the IPO in order to make its financials look better.

Quote
Amazon had no real network effects

This is simply not true.  Amazon was able to bypass building physical stores to sell books.  This was a huge advantage in both selection and cost.  Amazon was also cash-flow positive by year three (cash flow from operation - capex) and stayed that way despite GAAP accounting losses.   Uber has had nothing but cash flow losses for 10 years.  What's worse - it seems as they get bigger, so do their cash flow losses.

We'll see, I guess.

wabuffo
Title: Re: UBER - Uber Technologies
Post by: Spekulatius on May 18, 2019, 10:17:24 AM
I donít think the claim they EV will have lower repair costs than ICE cars holds true. Engines on I E cars nowadays are very reliable and will last a long time. Maintenance is tires, brakes and one has way more often issue with the electronics than the mechanics.

Self driving cars will be another can of worms. All these electronics, sensors , computers, software. my guess is they car mechanics will be become electronic technicians and will have a very bright future.
Title: Re: UBER - Uber Technologies
Post by: alpha on May 18, 2019, 11:20:14 AM
I donít think the claim they EV will have lower repair costs than ICE cars holds true. Engines on I E cars nowadays are very reliable and will last a long time. Maintenance is tires, brakes and one has way more often issue with the electronics than the mechanics.

Self driving cars will be another can of worms. All these electronics, sensors , computers, software. my guess is they car mechanics will be become electronic technicians and will have a very bright future.

The regenerative braking in EV's drastically reduces the wear on the braking system.
Title: Re: UBER - Uber Technologies
Post by: SharperDingaan on May 18, 2019, 12:49:57 PM
Uber also includes Uber Eats. See the below CBC marketplace video ...
ttps://www.cbc.ca/news/marketplace/battle-of-the-food-apps-testing-the-delivery-of-uber-eats-foodora-and-skipthedishes-1.4908223

The customer pays MORE per meal PLUS delivery charge. Total cost roughly 50% more than just going to the restaurant.
Restaurants LOSE money, only use it to stay competitive, and mark up to try & minimize the loss.
Restaurant/Uber reputational exposure to poor courier treatment/road fatalities.
Restaurant pays 30% fee to deliver via Uber Eats.

What do you think happens when the restaurants refuse to play anymore?
Collectively, progressively take a little longer to deliver your order, via a different service; & let eaters 'discover' that its quicker/cheaper to just go to the restaurant. Uber Eats goes obsolete overnight? Uber stock goes into free-fall?

SD



 
Title: Re: UBER - Uber Technologies
Post by: Castanza on May 18, 2019, 04:15:58 PM
I donít think the claim they EV will have lower repair costs than ICE cars holds true. Engines on I E cars nowadays are very reliable and will last a long time. Maintenance is tires, brakes and one has way more often issue with the electronics than the mechanics.

Self driving cars will be another can of worms. All these electronics, sensors , computers, software. my guess is they car mechanics will be become electronic technicians and will have a very bright future.

The regenerative braking in EV's drastically reduces the wear on the braking system.

So does engine braking in gasoline and diesel engines. Most trucks and SUV's have this feature nowadays. I'm not saying EV's won't be reliable, but you know damn well they will be way more expensive to repair until the supply and demand of qualified techs can catch up. I mean have you ever had a sensor or a computer chip go out in regular cars today? Crazy expensive, and everything is modular nowadays. SO you generally have to get a whole "unit" replaced instead of a specific part.