Uber is trying to speed up the electric vehicle revolution by encouraging drivers to use them.
The company is paying drivers an extra dollar for all trips taken in an EV, having invested $800 million in incentives. Additionally, Uber is partnering with Ford and the car rental company Hertz to let drivers rent and test the vehicles in hopes that they will make the switch, according to Axios.
In the U.S., Uber’s EVs account for 5% of the company’s total miles driven. However, in California, where regulations actively encourage drivers to adopt electric cars, the portion of EV miles driven is now 10%.
Axios reports that, in an interview, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told NBC’s Savannah Sellers, “When you experience an EV as a passenger, the experience tends to be a really good experience because the cars that are out there right now … are awesome vehicles.”
And changes are already happening. Earlier this year, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced that ride-share services like Lyft and Uber must operate only EVs by 2030.
“That’s zero emissions for over 100,000 vehicles on our city streets. And it will be achieved with no new costs for individual drivers,” Mayor Adams stated in his second State of the City address, according to Smart Cities Dive.
Uber’s changes come at a crucial time for sustainable transportation.
Studies have shown that making a move from a gasoline or diesel-powered car to an EV can reduce your carbon footprint by up to 2 tons of planet-heating CO2 equivalent gases per year.
There has been plenty of debate about the issue of making batteries for EVs, a process that does indeed pose a threat to the environment.
But overall, studies have shown that even though batteries required for electric cars have a larger carbon footprint than those used in gas cars, electric vehicles are still much better for the environment in the long term.
However, Axios reports that there is still concern as to whether drivers, who are often immigrants and gig workers with low earnings, will be willing to switch to EVs, especially considering how these vehicles tend to be more expensive at the outset, although they’re typically cheaper once long-term gas and maintenance savings are factored in.
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