Uber will work with automakers — General Motors in the US and Canada, and Renault-Nissan in cities in the UK, France, Netherlands, and Portugal — to “extend attractive offers” on electric vehicles to drivers.
In 2018, Uber explored providing cash incentives to some North America-based drivers who switch to electric vehicles, but it never expanded the program beyond the original pilot phase.
That means trips in hybrid or electric vehicles are about to become slightly more expensive for Uber customers, which Uber sees as a necessary cost to help speed the transition to a zero-emissions fleet.
But rather than pay drivers directly to trade their gas-burning vehicles for electric ones, the company will impose an extra fee on trips completed in an electric vehicle to incentivize drivers to make the switch.
Uber says it intends to partner with a variety of stakeholders — including automakers, car rental operators, electric vehicle charging companies, and others — in what is likely to be a massive effort to achieve its ambitious goal of a “fully zero-emissions platform by 2040.
Uber announced Tuesday that “100 percent” of rides will take place in electric vehicles by 2030 in the US, Canada, and Europe, and by 2040 for the rest of the world.
The surcharge will go toward helping Uber drivers switch to EVs, with the goal of having all cars on the app be fully electric in London by 2025.
Getting the millions of people who drive for Uber to switch to electric vehicles will arguably be the hardest part of the company’s plan.
Uber isn’t the first transportation company to pledge to shift to electric vehicles.
Drivers who use hybrid or electric vehicles to pick up passengers will get an extra 50 cents per ride, while drivers using specifically battery-electric vehicles get another dollar on top of that — for a total of $1. 50 extra per ride.
For example, drivers won’t be required to drive electric or hybrid vehicles to make money on Uber’s app, even by the target date of 2030.
The company doesn’t expressly reject regulations requiring ride-hailing companies to use more EVs, though it does say it “urgently need[s] more robust collaboration between industry and government stakeholders. ” Uber points to its progress in London, where it recently added an extra 15 pence (USD $0. 19) per mile under its new Clean Air Plan.
Numerous European countries already have laws in place that regulate the sale of gas-powered vehicles and lay out incentives to increase the number of electric and zero-emission ones.
Meanwhile, numerous other countries have set out targets for banning traditional cars and vans, with Norway aiming for 2025 and France and the UK for 2040 and 2050, respectively. (Granted, the legislation for actually mandating the bans lags far behind. ) The mayor of Denmark capital Copenhagen went so far as to propose a ban on diesel cars in the city last year that would go into effect by the end of 2019; Copenhagen has since tempered its proposal to aim for net-zero carbon emissions and carbon neutrality by 2025.
Uber will also spend $800 million of its own money to help “hundreds of thousands of drivers in the US, Canada, and Europe transition to battery EVs by 2025.
The news comes as talk of requiring ride-hailing companies to use more electric vehicles is gaining traction among many big US cities.
Senate Democrats recently proposed a plan that would provide car owners with “large discounts” if they trade in their polluting, gas-powered vehicles for “clean” electric ones.