Uber Expands ‘Comfort Electric’ Offering Nationally

Over the past year, Uber has made progress in electrifying its fleet of drivers or drivers who are hired. As part of its global drive to become a zero-emission mobility platform by 2040, Uber has taken steps to help drivers go electric. Last year, it announced a partnership with Hertz to make up to 50,000 Teslas available for driver hire by 2023. It then built an “EV Hub” in the Uber Driver app, a one-stop shop where they can get information and incentives to join the electric revolution and even compare the cost of ownership of an EV to a non-EV. .

Recently, Uber set up a way for passengers to choose an electric car for their journey. It only started in a few cities already known for EVs, but now Comfort Electric is expanding to 24 cities in the United States, plus Vancouver in Canada. Uber Comfort Electric is a quick and easy way to get around and help the environment at the same time. All you have to do is tap a button on your phone and request a premium electric vehicle, such as a Tesla, Polestar or Ford Mustang Mach-E.

Uber has received positive feedback from drivers about Comfort Electric, but drivers aren’t the only people happy with this new product experience – drivers are too. Because of higher fares, fuel savings, and a $1 per ride bonus for every ride they take (up to $4K per year), Comfort Electric eligible drivers can earn more per hour. They also have a significant impact on the environment: Since entering the Uber platform in 2022, EV drivers have avoided consuming more than 5.7 million gallons of gas.

Because so many of the Uber Comfort Electric cars are Teslas, Uber had to add instructions to the app to open a Tesla’s door handles. Uber had heard from drivers that some drivers are struggling to figure out how to open Tesla’s door handle. Now it’s no problem – passengers can view an in-app notification that appears once they are paired with a Tesla. This ensures that they will not struggle when the car accelerates.

Cities where this offer is now available include Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore-Maryland, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Connecticut, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New Jersey, NYC Suburbs, Philadelphia, Portland, Sacramento , San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Vancouver (Canada) and Washington DC

This is a lot better than I had as a driver in 2018

In 2017 and 2018, I experimented with giving electric car rides to people with Uber and Lyft. I have to say that this is a much better situation compared to how it was then.

The $1 bonus per electric ride is a very big improvement. The truth is that using an EV for Uber means charging part of your day instead of making money. By giving drivers more money for each electric ride, they are compensated for their charging interruptions and the inconvenience they have to find between trips through charging stations. This evens the playing field.

One thing Uber won’t tell you is that a lot of people use Uber because they’ve had a hard time. If you lose a job or a company goes bankrupt, you can sign up for Uber and start raking in some cash right away while you wait to find a job. Unlike McDonald’s, Walmart, or some call center job, they won’t turn you away because you’re overqualified and they know they’ll lose you as soon as better opportunities arise. As long as you’re a safe driver and nice to people, Uber doesn’t care what your background is.

Getting into hard times often means you can’t afford to buy an electric car, and borrowing one while out of work is a big challenge. Being able to rent an EV, give people a ride and take money home, plus have a Tesla in your driveway is a great way to not only keep your head above water, but also feel like you’re doing well with you go.

This latest offering is a big deal because it helps people who rent or own an EV get a leg up on drivers who bought an old, broken-down Prius for Uber (a common choice for full-time part-ride drivers). Passengers would rather drive a Tesla than a Prius with torn seats, and drivers would rather sit in one too. Bringing those two people together makes sense and makes it a wise choice rather than the financially bad move.

Uber’s wider clean transportation efforts

In 2020, Uber’s CEO announced that the company would be doing exactly what it’s doing today, and many subsequent reports about EVs and incentives for electric drivers can be traced back to that announcement.

He pointed out that in 2020 everything changed. Months of closures have cost millions of people their jobs and forced communities and businesses to survive. Long-standing inequalities have widened, with many of the same communities plagued by air pollution now at risk from the effects of COVID-19.

But there was one benefit: the smog that had covered the city’s skyline for so long disappeared during the lockdown. Pollution levels dropped, wildlife returned and disease spread. Many cities have re-evaluated their infrastructure in response to the epidemic, turning parking lots into parks and creating more space for pedestrians and cyclists. In cities designed for people rather than cars, we’ve seen what life could be like with less traffic and cleaner air – in places where motorists aren’t king.

At the time, Uber announced four key actions it wanted to commit to during the recovery phase of the pandemic:

  • Expanding Uber Green to make it easier for drivers to choose hybrid or EVs
  • Deploy $800M in Resources to Help Hundreds of Thousands of Drivers Switch to EVs by 2025
  • Investing in a multimodal network to promote sustainable alternatives to passenger cars
  • Be transparent and accountable to the public along the way

This most recent announcement showed its commitment to the first two items (making EV sharing easier and making it easier for drivers to buy an EV), but there are still plans to build some sort of “multimodal network”. that pushes car alternatives and increasing transparency.

You can find all the details here, but the basic plan is to help Uber serve more as a last-mile filler for transit and less as an alternative to it.

Featured image provided by Uber.


 

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