Uber has launched their own EV subsidy scheme. They will pay drivers in the US an extra dollar per ride if they are driving an electric car. The pilot will run for a year in seven cities but is part of a larger effort to encourage EV adoption.
“We see the writing on the wall,” Uber’s head of sustainability, Adam Gromis said on the launch of the scheme so this might be seen as an attempt at appeasement by the company. Uber had run into bans and trouble lately, particularly when launching in Europe but have since been “greening” their service with initiatives such as UberGreen.
The latest effort dubbed EV Champions Initiative though is to directly encourage EV adoption and in the gig economy this means, drivers need to be persuaded to buy electric cars themselves.
As an incentive, Uber will pay those driving an electric car at least one extra dollar per ride for a year and the goal is to facilitate at least 5 million trips over the next 12 months.
Moreover, Uber is adding features to its app for electric car drivers such as a 30 minute trip notification so EV drivers can see if they have enough range left before they pick up a rider.
As with UberGreen, the pilot is restricted to certain cities, in this case Austin, Los Angeles, Montreal, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle. Uber has been running pilots in Pittsburgh and Portland previously though.
Furthermore Uber is cooperating with nonprofits, EV advocates and UC-Davis researchers on the programme and will also roll-out an education campaign, informing on state incentives and other EV benefits.
Cash incentives will vary from city to city depending on the local partners. In Sacramento, for example, the local utility, SMUD, is adding $1.25 which Uber will round up to $1.50 for every trip completed in an electric vehicles. Drivers will also charge free on SMUD’s DC fast charging network.
In San Diego and San Francisco, Uber plans to pay drivers of PHEV and BEV vehicles a dollar per trip but there will be a maximum payout of $20 per week. EV charging stations will also be installed in the coming weeks at Uber’s San Diego Greenlight Hub.
There were around 4 million trips by Uber drivers in electric cars in North America in 2017, the company claims so the 5 million mark should be well within reach.
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