99 wants to expand its presence in the peripheries and bets on the use of electric cars

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The 99 transport app wants to increase the volume of trips started on the outskirts of cities, while racing to lead the electrification among apps.

In 2022, the platform saw the share of races made outside the expanded center advance in at least ten capitals. On average, 60% of trips made in February this year departed from peripheral addresses. Two years earlier, this percentage was 55%.

In the opinion of Diogo Souto Maior, director of public policies and government relations at 99, the increase in rides outside the central regions meets a need to expand the business itself.

To improve the balance between supply and price, more travel is needed. And for that, residents of more regions of the city need access to the application service.

In addition, the company sees the pandemic as a period that allowed new first trips. For those who couldn’t adopt remote work, the use of transport apps was a safe way to keep moving.

Part of this increase is attributed to short-distance trips, those made between the home and the bus or subway terminal, a kind of “last mile” (logistics industry jargon for the final distance between the distribution center and the customer’s home ) of day-to-day transport.

In São Paulo, 57% of the races held in February started in remote neighborhoods. In the same period, in 2020, they were 54%. To arrive at the result, 99 crossed data from the Census (which divides the city into regions by average income) with information from the races carried out through the application.

The biggest advance was registered in Porto Alegre, where the percentage of peripheral races went from 56% to 63%. Souto Maior says that 99’s plan is to continue advancing in these regions. This expansion integrates the transport democratization axis of the application’s agenda, which celebrates ten years of existence.

In this period, the activities mediated by the application moved R$ 54.2 billion, according to a survey by Fipe (Fundação Instituto de Pesquisas Econômicas) commissioned by the company. In the last three years alone, it was R$ 45.8 billion.

On the other front of plans for the future, 99 tries to take the lead in electrification among mobility platforms. The first attempts to use electric cars were made this year.

The promise of 99 is to reach 300 electric vehicles in the fleet in the next four months. Two from Caoa Cherry have already been circulating around São Paulo, under tests, with registered drivers. The idea of ​​the first tests, according to Thiago Hipolito, director of innovation at 99, was to collect data on the performance of these vehicles for the activity and perception of drivers.

A little over a month ago, the first D1, by Chinese BYD, also joined 99’s incipient own fleet. The model was planned from a joint venture between DiDi, the Chinese company that controls 99, with the automaker, and designed to meet transport applications.

The interior space is equivalent to that of a compact SUV, the floor is flat and the right sliding door can be opened on the dashboard by the driver.

Fenando Pfeiffer, director of strategy at DriverLab, 99’s innovation center, says the car has other attributes favorable to the app’s business model. Like other electrics, the D1 is silent. There is no vibration and there is no engine noise.

For those who drive, the power is simulating that of a 1.8 engine, allowing the initial acceleration and uphill to be smooth, and the response, quick. On Thursday, when 99 organized a breakfast to present its plans for the future, the car was used to transport guests (including this reporter).

The car’s design also considered the need for efficiency for a controlled speed, typical of urban commuting. While a combustion vehicle uses more fuel in a traffic jam or when traffic gets heavy, electric vehicles do not increase energy consumption.

The range, per charge, is around 370 kilometers, which, according to 99, meets the work needs of drivers.

But the reduction in expenses – about 80% less expenses compared to a gasoline vehicle, and 70% compared to CNG – are still overshadowed by the final price of the car. The D1 currently costs R$ 269.9 thousand, according to the manufacturer.

“The price of electric is still prohibitive,” says Pfeiffer. In the executive’s assessment, the “agenda” of electric vehicles goes beyond the issue of mobility, which favors those interested in leading initiatives and promoting partnerships. “The private industry will be the agent. But we also understand that we are not yet in the buying stage”, she says.

For 99, the operation with trams must be done with the intermediation of rental companies. Later this week, 50 Nissan Leaf electric vehicles will be put up for lease through Movida. In this phase of the pilot, still exclusively in São Paulo, the drivers who will use the vehicles will be chosen by the application.

According to Hipolito, added to a reduction in the rental price and the reduction in supply costs, drivers who use the trams will have a savings of 25%. On rental, there will be a 50% discount – the standard value of renting an electric car today is double that of a conventional car.

The inclusion of the other 250 electric vehicles in the fleet is not yet complete, say the executives. The plan by 2025 is to reach 10,000 electric vehicles and the same number of public charging stations (today there are 1,500) through the Alliance for Sustainable Mobility, led by the app.

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