Analysts in automotive industry predict that personal car ownership is going to continuously drop in the coming decades as ride-hailing platforms flourish. It is thus economically and environmentally sustainable for these platforms to boost the usage of fully electric and hybrid vehicles. Indeed, the giant ride-hailing platform Uber claims that incorporating electric vehicles in ride-sharing scheme will reduce the number of vehicles on the road and the vehicular carbon footprint.
Uber, one of today’s prominent player in ride-hailing, has just kicked off its year-long pilot program called EV Champions Initiative, which will be paying electric vehicle drivers and even pay subsidies to other drivers. The program was just launched last week in the following cities of United States: Austin, Los Angeles, Montreal, Sacramento, San Francisco, and Seattle.
So what would Uber drivers get in exchange of going electric? In San Diego, the drivers that use plug-in hybrids or fully electric vehicles are entitled of a dollar-per-ride bonus, with a maximum of $20 weekly bonus. They are also privileged to get additional perks on the smartphone app such as information about state and local EV programs. In addition, a 30-minute trip notification is applicable to EV drivers in order for them to plan if their vehicle needs charging. The riders are in turn notified if they are partnered with an electric vehicle driver.
The program EV Champions Initiative was launched after the announcement of Lyft’s (Uber’s competitor) new program in reducing carbon footprint by purchasing carbon offsets. Lyft has currently 100,000 electric vehicles according to L.A. Times report. Carbon offset is “a credit for greenhouse gas reductions achieved by one party that can be purchased and used to compensate (offset) the emissions of another party.” Sellers are usually from the renewable energy industry, which makes use of the money in making their projects more feasible.
Uber is also currently working with University of California in finding ways to increase electric vehicle adoption. “We are excited to continue working with riders, drivers, and cities around the world to facilitate access to more sustainable transportation and work towards solutions that can improve our lifestyles and our cities,” wrote Adam Gronis, Uber’s global lead got sustainability and environmental impact, in a blog post.