In June, Lyft made a shocking promise to transition its entire fleet of vehicles—including those owned by drivers—to electric models. Now, Uber is following suit. The rideshare giant announced on Tuesday that 100 percent of rides on its platform will take place in electric vehicles by 2030 in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. It is aiming to go electric worldwide by 2040.
Interestingly, Uber’s approach to transition its fleet to electric vehicles will cost riders more for each trip. Drivers will then bring home a portion of the fee from “Uber Green” rides.
Getting an entire network of drivers to buy a new car is no small task. That’s especially true considering the cost of today’s electric vehicles. Even so, Uber sees going green as a cornerstone of its business in the years to come. That’s ultimately a good thing. It may be a painful process, though, for both riders and drivers.
Instead of paying drivers to trade their gas-powered cars for electric ones, Uber will add an additional fee for trips in eco-friendly vehicles. Starting Tuesday, riders in the U.S. and Canada will see a $1 surcharge when they request a hybrid or electric vehicle. Drivers who own a hybrid car will get an extra 50 cents per ride. Those with an all-electric car will get an additional dollar on top of the 50 cent bonus, bringing their share to $1.50 per ride.
Uber sees the new rider surcharge as a necessary evil to help speed up the adoption of zero-emission vehicles. It also plans to spend $800 million to help “hundreds of thousands of drivers in the U.S., Canada, and Europe transition to battery EVs by 2025.”
Interestingly, drivers won’t be punished for driving gas-powered vehicles—even after the 2030 deadline. Uber believes that incentivizing drivers will work better than forcing them to change. Of course, throwing around claims like transitioning “100 percent” of its fleet without some method of backing that up seems a bit odd.
Meanwhile, Uber plans to work with automakers General Motors and Renault-Nissan to “extend attractive offers” on electric vehicles to its drivers. The rideshare firm will also seek partnerships with governments, electric vehicle charging companies, and rental operators to help make driving an electric car more accessible.
Will it Work?
Convincing people to buy an electric vehicle isn’t easy. If it was, we wouldn’t still be polluting the air with gas-powered cars.
Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft are certainly helping lead the way. If they are able to successfully convert their fleets to zero-emission vehicles, it would go a long way in boosting their adoption. Of course, they can’t do it alone.
Many other things also need to happen before everyday consumers are ready to make the switch. Charging networks need to continue growing and new car models need to have extended ranges. Easing fears about running out of power mid-trip is a major goal for the electric car industry. Likewise, lowering the cost of electric vehicles—therefore making them more accessible—is another milestone to pursue.