Uber announces $800 million to accelerate transition to electric cars, but only aims for 100% electric by 2040

Uber announced its plan to accelerate the transition to electric cars with $800 million to help its drivers go electric.

However, it only aims for 100% of drives to be electric by 2040.

Earlier today, we reported on GM partnering with Uber to help drivers buy discounted Chevy Bolt EV electric cars.

It is actually just one small part of a bigger announcement from Uber today about transitioning to electric vehicles:

“Uber is committing to become a fully zero-emission platform by 2040, with 100% of rides taking place in zero-emission vehicles, on public transit, or with micromobility. We’re also setting an earlier goal to have 100% of rides take place in electric vehicles (EVs) in US, Canadian, and European cities by 2030. In fact, we believe we can achieve this 2030 goal in any major city where we can work with local stakeholders to implement policies that ensure a fair transition to EVs for drivers. In addition to our platform goals, we’re also committed to reaching net-zero emissions from our corporate operations by 2030. All told, hitting these goals would put us a decade ahead of Paris Climate Agreement targets.”

Ride-hailing companies transitioning to electric vehicles is extremely important. Ride-hailing trips result in approximately 69% more climate pollution on average than the trips they displace, says a recent study.

There are four main points to Uber’s plan:

  1. Expanding Uber Green to make it easier for riders to choose to travel in hybrids or EVs.
  2. Committing $800 million in resources to help hundreds of thousands of drivers transition to EVs by 2025.
  3. Investing in our multimodal network to promote sustainable alternatives to personal cars. 
  4. Being transparent and accountable to the public along the way.

They are expanding the option to order a hybrid or electric vehicle through “Uber Green” to more than 15 US and Canadian cities.

It’ll cost an extra $1 per ride, but riders will get 3x Uber Rewards than a regular ride.

As for the $800 million, Uber will likely spend it with the GM deal for the Bolt EV, but also with Nissan and Renault.

They are also giving extra money to drivers who drive electric:

“Drivers who choose to drive greener and electric vehicles will earn extra money with each trip. In the US and Canada, hybrid and EV drivers will receive an extra $0.50 directly from the rider on every Uber Green trip completed. Since our goal is to ultimately transition all drivers to zero-emission vehicles, drivers using a zero-emission vehicle (namely, a battery EV) will receive an additional $1.00 for every trip they complete in the US and Canada. This means that battery EV drivers* will receive both incentives—a total of $1.50 extra—for every Uber Green trip they complete.”

Ultimately, they aim for all drive on their platform to be electric by 2040.

Earlier this year, Lyft, Uber’s biggest competitor, made a similar commitment. However, Lyft aims to achieve 100% electric drive by 2030.

Electrek’s Take

Personally, I think that 2040 is a weak goal, but at the same time, everything helps.

Drivers really need to look into those incentives and do the math.

In some markets, the $1.50 extra per ride could cover the monthly lease payment on a Chevy Bolt EV or Nissan Leaf.

After you account for gas savings, it could be real bump in income for them.

However, riders need to start requesting Uber Green. Are they going to be willing to pay $1 more per ride?

I don’t know, but it would be very interesting data to get in a few months.

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