A new pilot project could see Uber drivers who use electric cars getting a raise from the ride-hailing company. The move is part of a broad effort by Uber to get drivers to get rid of their fossil fuel-burning cars in favor of cleaner more eco-friendly electric cars. The pilot program is expected to last a full year and it aims to provide cash incentives for the drivers who make the EV switch.
Uber wants to facilitate about 5 million EV rides this year as part of this initiative with drivers. The ride-hailing company has also partnered with nonprofit organizations and UC-Davis. The goal of this partnership is to help researchers discover new ways through which the adoption of EVs among Uber drivers can be facilitated.
Uber’s head of sustainability Adam Gromis said that the writing is indeed on the wall. There are more and more cities that are moving towards sustainable clean transport solutions. As one of the biggest ride-hailing companies in the world, Uber cannot be left behind in this push. Gromis feels that the priority for Uber right now is to provide an efficient mobility system that works with the climate priorities of most cities. This is the main reason why the EV initiative has been launched.
The new pilot program will take place in a number of select cities such as San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Montreal, Austin, and Seattle. The cash incentives offered to drivers who decide to switch to electric vehicles will also vary from city to city. For instance, in the city of Sacramento, drivers who complete a zero-emissions trip will get an additional $1.24 for every ride. This amount will be increased to $1.5 over time. The city through its local publicly owned utility services will provide free charging for these EVs. Drivers from the city of Sacramento who are making trips outside the city will still be eligible for the cash incentive.
In San Diego and San Francisco, Uber intends to pay drivers 1 dollar for every zero-emissions trip. The company is also planning to install a number of fast EV charging stations in both cities over the coming week. In Los Angeles, on the other hand, drivers won’t get any cash for the trips. Instead, Uber will offer educational assistance.
The uptake of EVs among Uber drivers has been quite steady over the last few months. In 2017 alone, there were at least 4 million Uber EV rides in the US and Canada. The idea of getting this number to 5 million is definitely possible. In addition to this, the ride-hailing company could also be responding to a similar plan by its biggest competitor Lyft. Lyft recently confirmed the launch of a new multi-million dollar initiative that’s designed to transform the company into a carbon-neutral transportation service. Lyft’s goal is to provide 1 billion rides per year using EVs by 2025. At the moment, over 100,000 Lyft drivers use EVs in the US.