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Uber Paying Drivers More to Use EVs in New Pilot Program

Uber Paying Drivers More to Use EVs in New Pilot Program

Author: Eric Walz   

Uber's mission is to make cities more efficient and less reliant on personal car ownership. As part of that mission, Uber is encouraging its driver partners to adopt electric vehicles. The company launched a new pilot with a important incentive for its drivers to use electric vehicles—higher pay.

Today, the transportation giant announced the EV Champions Initiative, a pilot program for driver-partners to deliver at least 5 million EV rides over the next year in partnership with leading electric vehicle (EV) adoption experts.

This program begins today in seven cities, San Francisco, Seattle, Austin, Los Angeles, Montreal, Sacramento and San Diego. To support the program, Uber is installing additional EV charging stations in the coming weeks at its San Diego Greenlight Hub.

In select cities, the pilot provides higher incentives for driving EVs while working for Uber.

In San Diego and San Francisco for example, Uber plans to pay drivers of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles an additional $1 per trip.

In Quebec, EV drivers who use the Uber app will be offered a free AVEQ membership, which includes opportunities for reduced insurance premium alongside the chance to share their views and advocate for policies that best serve their needs.

Giovanni Circella, director of the 3 Revolutions Future Mobility Program at the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies, said "EV Champions brings together two of today's transportation revolutions: clean electric vehicles and shared-use mobility.  We look forward to partnering with Uber to evaluate how the initiative can improve consumer understanding and adoption of EVs."

Over the last year, Uber spoke to many drivers about the challenges in losing fare-earning time to charge their vehicles, accessing adequate fast-charging stations in urban areas, and getting affordable access to higher mileage EVs. The EV Champions Initiative will address these three concerns.

Participants in the program gain access to EV education and resources. In addition to the federal EV tax credit of up to $7500 on the purchase of an electric vehicle, Uber is will help drivers navigate a myriad of state programs and incentives available as well as local programs provided by utilities and cities that are less widely known.

The company is working to ensure its EV driver partners have the best, most up to date information on all the resources, incentives and programs they can take advantage of in their local areas.

Participants in the pilot will have access to resources right from the Uber app. For example, one of the biggest challenges for EV drivers is "range anxiety", worrying that a vehicle's battery might run out of charge before reaching a suitable EV charging station. To address this, the Uber app provides a 30 minute trip notification for drivers so they've got an idea of what's in store on the trip before they pick up a rider.

Uber is also promoting advocacy for shared-use EV drivers. The company is partnering with Veloz – a leading non-profit comprised of public and private organizations dedicated to addressing the needs for EV adoption and the unique needs of rideshare drivers with EVs in California.

Uber will also let riders know they are about to be picked up by a driver using an electric vehicle. Starting today, any rider in the United States or Montreal, Canada matched with a driver-partner in an EV will receive a unique in-app notification.

Uber believes this small step will encourage conversations between riders and drivers about EVs. In the pilot cities, participating drivers may offer riders in-car materials with basic information on the benefits of EVs and importance of electrification.

Studies by the International Transport Forum, UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies, and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab found that when shared and electric mobility are properly combined, along with automation, it can shrink the number of vehicles on the road and reduce transportation's climate footprint.

This program builds off the success of existing pilots in Pittsburgh and Portland. Together with its partners, Uber aims to better equip its drivers for success using an electric vehicle on the popular transportation platform.


Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally from New Jersey, Eric is an automotive and technology reporter specializing in the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley. Eric has over fifteen years of automotive experience and a B.A. in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the automotive industry and beyond. He has worked on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology. Outside of work, Eric likes to travel to new places, play guitar, and explore the outdoors.
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