Commercial, Energy Efficiency, Sourcing Renewables - June 21, 2018
Uber offers incentives for EVs
Uber announced the launch of the EV Champions Initiative, a pilot program that offers direct monetary incentives to drivers in their network who drive electric vehicles, with the goal of these drivers delivering at least 5 million EV rides over the next year.
In a statement, Adam Gromis, global lead for sustainability and environmental impact said, "At Uber, we’re committed to facilitating reliable transportation for everyone, everywhere and making our cities more efficient and less reliant on personal car ownership. One important part of realizing this vision is increasing electrical vehicle (EV) adoption." The statement cited several studies that 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."
The pilot is running in seven cities — Austin, Los Angeles, Montreal, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle — building off the success of existing pilots in Pittsburgh and Portland. Among Uber’s partners in the program are utilities in some of these cities, including Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), Duquesne Light Company and Portland General Electric.
In developing the pilot, Uber met with drivers in U.S. and Canada who “love not paying for gas and being a part of automotive innovation,” according to Gromis, but are apprehensive about challenges including 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 is addressing these concerns with monetary incentives, providing information to drivers about federal, state and local tax credits for EV owners, and in-app features for EV drivers including a 30-minute trip notification to avert range anxiety. To drive awareness among consumers, any rider in the U.S. matched with a driver-partner in an EV will receive an in-app notification.
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