Luxury Ride-Hailing Service Wheely Rolls Out in Dubai
Luxury-focused ride-hailing competitor Wheely is set to make its mark in Dubai, marking the resumption of its international expansion efforts after being halted by the Covid pandemic in 2020.
Founded by Russian-Swiss entrepreneur Anton Chirkunov, the company disclosed to CNBC its commencement of services in the United Arab Emirates city starting Wednesday, primarily targeting affluent clientele.
In its inaugural phase in Dubai, Wheely will introduce rides utilizing BMW 5 Series vehicles, paving the way for potential inclusion of BMW’s i5 electric variant in its fleet down the line.
This move is significant, considering the i5's comparatively lower cost in the luxury electric vehicle market when contrasted with competitors like the Mercedes-Benz EQE and the Tesla Model X.
While Mercedes' 2024 EQE EV comes with a starting price tag of $79,650, the 2024 BMW i5 series starts at $66,800.
Wheely hasn't hinted at any immediate plans to part ways with Mercedes cars, but this decision offers a glimpse into its approach towards integrating electric vehicles into its fleet.
Going West: Expansion Beyond the Middle East
However, Wheely's global expansion ambitions extend beyond the Middle East.
The company, having previously established services in Paris, now sets its sights on the United States market, as revealed by Wheely’s co-founder and CEO in conversation with CNBC.
Source: Ryan Browne / CNBC