A new pilot program by Uber, called the EV Champions Initiative, kicked off today in seven cities across the US and Canada to increase electrical vehicle (EV) adoption. The program will aim to "deliver at least 5 million EV rides over the next year" in Austin, Los Angeles, Montreal, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle.
"This program builds off the success of existing pilots in Pittsburgh and Portland and we’re proud to team up with experts who have decades of experience in EV adoption. Together, we hope to better equip both plug-in electric and full battery electric vehicle drivers for success," said Adam Gromis, Uber Global Lead for Sustainability and Environmental Impact, in a statement.
A high interest in EVs
Uber said that both drivers in the US and Canada showed a high interest in driving EVs but faced complications such as losing fare-earning time while charging their cars and finding appropriate charging stations. The EV Champions Initiative will aim to rectify some of those issues.
The program will provide EV drivers with up to date information on EV-related resources and even offer "direct monetary incentives" in certain cities. Uber is also introducing in-app features catered to EV drivers such as 30-minute trip notifications to ensure drivers do not run out fo charge.
Finally, Uber will increase its advocacy efforts regarding shared EV usage. The company has partnered with leading California EV adoption non-profit Veloz and Quebec's Association des véhicules électriques du Québec (AVEQ) to offer drivers EV perks and a platform for advocating for improved EV policies.
“EV Champions brings together two of today’s transportation revolutions: clean electric vehicles and shared-use mobility."
The initiative is also partnering with other expert NGOs such as the Electric Mobility Canada, Forth, Plug-in America (PIA) and the Rocky Mountain Institute. Electric Utilities, Duquesne Light Company, Portland General Electric and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, as well as the University of California's Davis Institute of Transportation Studies, are also participating in the pilot program.
“EV Champions brings together two of today’s transportation revolutions: clean electric vehicles and shared-use mobility. We look forward to partnering with Uber to evaluate how the initiative can improve consumer understanding and adoption of EVs," said Giovanni Circella, director of the 3 Revolutions Future Mobility Program at the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies.
Reducing climate footprint
Uber quoted studies by the International Transport Forum, UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies, and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab that found that shared EVs could significantly reduced traffic's climate footprint.
The company said they aim to "facilitate access to more sustainable transportation and work towards solutions that can improve our lifestyles and our cities."
The move may also be a way for Uber to keep up with its ride-hailing competitior Lyft. The firm recently published its Climate Impact Goals announcing it planned to use autonomous EVs to reduce its CO2 emissions "by at least 5 million tons per year by 2025."
It seems the companies may be on a race for environmental efficiency. Now that is a competition we approve of!