Uber wants to encourage its drivers to start using electric vehicles (EVs) rather than the gas-powered ones they typically use.
The ride-hailing company won't build charging stations, but it will provide "direct monetary incentives" to electric-car drivers in certain cities. Uber said it will also work to educate drivers on what government incentives are available for electric cars in their areas. For instance, the company expects to break ground in the coming weeks on EV charging stations at its San Diego Greenlight Hub, a driver facility at 7310 Miramar Road. The LA Times learned that Uber plans to pay drivers in Pittsburgh, San Diego and San Francisco $1 (76p) extra per ride, with San Diego drivers having the fee capped at $20 (£15.20) per week. It will help Uber achieve a goal of giving 5 million rides in electric cars during the next year.
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".
Participants in the program gain access to EV education and resources. For example, a new feature in the driver app will help combat range anxiety, which can often discourage drivers from going electric for fear that they might run out of fuel on an unexpectedly long trip. 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. Quebec drivers also get a free membership in Association des véhicules électriques du Québec, a local electric-car advocacy group that also provides reduced insurance premiums to members.
Some drivers are reluctant to use electric vehicles because of the lost time it takes to charge, when they could be driving. In the pilot cities, participating drivers may offer riders in-car materials with basic information on the benefits of EVs and importance of electrification.
Lupe Jimenez manages electric transportation for SMUD and says the new partnership has several objectives.