Sep 8, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Uber vows big expansion of electric rides

Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Uber is immediately expanding its "Green" program to new cities and setting a longer-term target of having fully electric cars account for 100% of rides on its platform in the U.S., Canadian and European cities by 2030.

Why it matters: Those plans — and other new climate pledges Uber unveiled Tuesday — come as ride-hailing firms face growing scrutiny over their carbon emissions amid evidence they're cannibalizing public transit and increasing congestion.

It follows Lyft's vow in June to have 100% of the rides in its platform come from zero-emissions vehicles by 2030.

How it works: Uber this morning announced moves, including...

  • Launching Uber Green program — which provides rides in EVs and hybrids — today in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Vancouver and a bunch other cities, with plans to have the program in over 30 cities by year's end. It includes new incentives for drivers to use EVs.
  • An $800 million commitment aimed at helping "hundreds of thousands" of Uber drivers worldwide overcome cost barriers to transitioning to EVs over the next 5 years. They're offering incentives of up to $1.50 per ride, and rolling out new partnerships with automakers to defray costs.
  • New and wider steps to integrate their ride-hailing with micromobility and public transit, including a new feature that "integrates UberX and public transportation travel routes into one complete route."

The big picture: Uber's longer-term goal is that by 2040, 100% of worldwide trips on their platform are in EVs, public transit or micromobility.

  • "It’s our responsibility as the largest mobility platform in the world to more aggressively tackle the challenge of climate change," CEO Dara Khosrowshahi wrote as part of a new report on the company's climate efforts.

Yes, but: Uber acknowledges that achieving their electrification goals rests on factors that they don't control.

  • “We can’t do this alone,” Khosrowshahi told reporters on a call this morning, citing the need for “unprecedented” collaboration.

It also require steps by policymakers and other industry participants to spur EV and charging infrastructure deployment.

  • Their sustainability pledges include new partnerships with automakers like GM and Renault to help make EVs more affordable to drivers.
  • Another part of their plans is working with the nonprofit World Resources Institute and other groups on a "global road map" to enable more EV adoption.

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