Uber, is committed to facilitating reliable transportation for everyone, everywhere and making cities more efficient and less reliant on personal car ownership. One important part of realizing this vision is increasing electrical vehicle (EV) adoption. 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, we can shrink the number of vehicles on the road and reduce transportation's climate footprint. For more information see the IDTechEx report on electric vehicles.
That's why Uber has launched the EV Champions Initiative, a pilot program for driver-partners to deliver at least 5 million EV rides over the next year. This program has kicked off in seven cities — Austin, Los Angeles, Montreal, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle — in partnership with leading electric vehicle (EV) adoption experts. This program builds off the success of existing pilots in Pittsburgh and Portland.
Partner Giovanni Circella, director of the 3 Revolutions Future Mobility Program at the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies, shares "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 has met with hundreds of drivers across the US and Canada who drive or are interested in driving EVs. While they love not paying for gas and being a part of automotive innovation, they also face 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 begins to address these concerns by providing:
Access to EV education and resources: Many drivers know about the federal tax credit for EV owners, but there are a myriad of State programs and incentives available as well as local programs provided by utilities and cities that are less widely known. Uber is focused on ensuring EV drivers have the best, most up to date information on all the resources, incentives and programs they can take advantage of in their areas. In select cities, this pilot provides direct monetary incentives for driving EVs on an Uber network.
In-app features built for EV drivers: One of the biggest challenges for EV drivers is "range anxiety"- worrying the vehicle might run out of charge before making it to a suitable EV charging station. Uber is introducing a 30 minute trip notification for drivers so they've got an idea of what's in store on the road ahead before they pick up a rider.
Advocacy for shared-use EV drivers: Today's EV infrastructure and resource programs are designed for private car ownership. To shift the conversation towards shared EVs, Uber is stepping up their advocacy in this space. Uber has joined 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. And 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.
Consumers' lack of awareness about EVs is often a barrier to adopting more electric transportation. Uber working to make every EV ride requested through their platform a remarkable experience. From now on, any rider in the United States or Montreal, Canada matched with a driver-partner in an EV will receive an in-app notification. This is a small step towards driving awareness and encouraging conversations between riders and drivers about EVs. In pilot cities, participating drivers may offer riders in-car materials with basic information on the benefits of EVs and importance of electrification.
Source and top image: Uber