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Going Green Is a Team Sport. We Need to Support Ridesharing Drivers to Go Electric.

young woman in green sweater topping up EV vehicle
young woman in green sweater topping up EV vehicle
Laura Miller, Head of Policy and Communications for Uber Canada

Laura Miller

Head of Policy and Communications for Uber Canada

Uber Canada is moving toward its ambitious zero-emission platform goal through a series of smart collaborations and incentives.

As the largest mobility platform in the world, we know that our impact goes beyond our technology. We’ve made a commitment to operate a zero-emission platform globally by 2040 and in Canadian cities with supportive policies — like Montreal and Vancouver — by 2030. 

One of the ways we’re going to achieve this is by helping drivers on the Uber platform go electric. In a recent survey of drivers in Canada, we found that 71 percent are interested in switching to an electric vehicle (EV). This is significant as we know that these drivers drive more than the average person, meaning that each one who switches to an EV has an outsized impact on putting green kilometres on our streets. But we also know that it can be challenging for drivers to make a big decision like transitioning to EV. That’s why so many of our sustainability efforts have been focused on supporting drivers in making the switch from gas to EV. 

Progress toward a fully electric platform is best achieved in cities where we partner across the ecosystem. Plug’n Drive is providing informative webinars as well as hosting test drive opportunities for drivers on the Uber platform to learn about the total cost of owning an EV and the benefits. Shell Recharge is bringing more charging stations to BC, and Wallbox and FLO are offering discounts on home charging solutions. General Motors gave discounts to drivers on the Chevrolet Bolt EV. And drivers of fully electric vehicles are eligible for the Zero Emissions incentive, which lets them earn an extra $1 on every trip with Uber.

But going all-electric is a challenge that’s bigger than these companies. We need policies in place that make EVs more affordable and charging more accessible. A recent World Resources Institute research paper detailed how governments, ridesharing companies, utilities, and charging station operators can play a role in making EVs more cost-competitive and expanding access to affordable, convenient charging, especially for low-income communities. The paper included ideas such as reducing high upfront costs and increasing access to affordable financing, with a focus on equity and high-mileage use cases; making EV charging more affordable and convenient through overnight solutions in underserved areas and urban fast-charging; and educating drivers on EV ownership and benefits.

Earlier this year, the federal government released its 2030 Emissions Reductions Plan, which includes $9.1 billion in new investments to cut pollution and grow the economy. We’re interested to see how this will support ridesharing drivers. Here are a few things governments can do right now with that money: 

  • Create an additional income-tested incentive for EV purchases
  • Extend EV incentives to used EV purchases since a majority of drivers on the Uber platform bought their vehicles second-hand
  • Install charging infrastructure in multi-unit residential buildings to increase access for residents and renters 
  • Offer low-interest loans to first-time EV buyers 
  • Ensure building codes are changed so any new multi-unit buildings include the rough-in for EV infrastructure

Progress in Europe shows it can be done. Rideshare drivers are going electric in Europe nearly five times faster than average European private car owners. The number in London is eight times faster. In the leading cities, policies are in place that make the total cost of ownership of an EV significantly lower than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles.

Going green is truly a team sport. Progress toward a fully electric platform will only be achieved where we band together across the ecosystem — government, industry, ridesharing companies, and NGOs. Teaming up will continue to be vital in delivering our common goal of a cleaner, greener future.

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