Uber, the app that lets you hire a luxury cab from your phone, is adding hybrid cars that will cost up to 35 percent less than its current fleet. The new service, called Uber X, will still be around 10 to 25 percent more expensive than a regular taxi, but far cheaper than the 40 to 100 percent premium that customers are charged for a traditional town car. Travis Kalanick, the company's chief executive, tells The New York Times that the hybrid cars are "the first big step Uber is taking to go to the masses." The company already offers a low-cost cab service in Chicago, but it does look as though Uber X will be a more widespread initiative.
The new hybrid options will be offered to customers in New York and San Francisco from Wednesday, and Uber plans to expand the service to more cities in the coming months. All Things D says around 50 to 100 cars will be available in each city at launch and the lowest estimated average fare will be around $14 (compared to $24 for a town car). The New York Times is a little more specific, giving the price of a ride in San Francisco as a $5 base fee and $3.25 per-mile thereafter.
The Uber app is available for Android and iOS, but there's also an unofficial app available for Windows Phone as well as a mobile-optimized website for all other platforms.