In an effort to increase the number of electrified vehicles in its service network, Uber is piloting a program to deliver at least 5 million EV rides over the next year and create monetary incentives for EV drivers.
The San Francisco-based ride-hailing group launched the EV Champions initiative yesterday in Austin, Los Angeles, Montreal, Seattle, San Francisco, San Diego, and Sacramento, Calif.
In partnership with the University of California, Davis Institute of Transportation Studies, Association des Véhicules Électriques du Québec, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, among other industry players, the initative seeks to increase access to EV education and resources for Uber drivers.
“EV Champions brings together two of today’s transportation revolutions: clean electric vehicles and shared-use mobility,” Giovanni Circella, director of the 3 Revolutions Future Mobility Program at the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies, said in a statement. “We look forward to partnering with Uber to evaluate how the initiative can improve consumer understanding and adoption of EVs.”
In a blog post, Uber said that it is working to help further educate drivers about the numerous state and city programs available for those who drive EVs, in addition to the widely-known federal programs. In some cities, drivers will receive monetary incentives from Uber to operate EVs on its network.
Additionally, Uber is partnering with Veloz, a nonprofit that works for with both public and private groups the adoption of EVs, to help California drivers who are interested in switching over; In Quebec, EV drivers who use the Uber app will receive free membership in AVEQ, which includes opportunities for reduced insurance premiums.
Uber noted the challenges drivers face with EVs, mainly “range anxiety” — or the worry about a vehicle running out of charge before reaching its destination. To combat, Uber will be releasing an in-app feature that will alert drivers if a trip is going to be 30 minutes or longer before they pick up a rider.
“Consumers’ lack of awareness about EVs is often a barrier to adopting more electric transportation,” Uber’s statement said. “That’s why we’re working to make every EV ride requested through our 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.”
The EV Champions initiative is being built off existing pilot programs in Pittsburg and Portland, Ore.