May 16, 2022 - Economy

Uber adds electric cars and stadium food to its menu

Illustration of a burger, drink, and fries, sitting on a cell phone as if it were a tray

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Uber is adding "comfort electric" vehicles to the ride-hailing options on its app in some California cities, part of an ongoing effort to get drivers and consumers to go electric.

  • Plus: At many stadiums, you can now order food from the concession stands using Uber Eats so you don't have to miss any of the game standing in line.

Why it matters: The new features are among a suite of new products Uber rolled out Monday to make going places — or getting food — more convenient and sustainable.

Details: Uber Comfort Electric is available in San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles with more cities to come.

  • Riders tap a button to request a ride in a premium EV like a Tesla, Polestar or Ford Mustang Mach-E.
  • The Comfort Electric option is offered alongside Uber Green, where riders can already request hybrid and EV rides, as well as car-free options like bikes and scooters.
  • Hailing a premium EV is more expensive, though: Uber says Comfort Electric is priced between its more premium Uber Comfort and Uber Black offerings.

The big picture: Uber aims to be a zero-emissions platform in the U.S. by 2030 (and globally by 2040). The company is spending more than $800 million on various incentives to help drivers make the switch to EVs.

  • In 2021, Uber announced a deal with Hertz to make up to 50,000 Teslas available for Uber drivers to rent by 2023.
  • In the U.S., drivers who switch to EVs can earn $1 more per trip, up to $4,000 a year.
  • Uber has already been making significant progress in Europe, where EVs are more popular.

Yes, but: as Axios has reported: Uber's drivers are gig workers so it can't force them to buy EVs.

Uber Eats at Stadiums is currently available in LA at Dodger Stadium and Angel Stadium; in New York at Yankee Stadium; in Washington, D.C., at Capital One Arena; in Houston at Minute Maid Park; and in San Jose at PayPal Park.

How it works: Inside the venue, consumers can open the Uber Eats app and click on their general seat location (Main level, section 215 or gate 21B, for example) to be shown nearby ordering options.

  • Then they select the merchant, add their food, drink or merch to their cart and place an order for pickup.
  • When the order is ready, they’ll be notified and can head to the pickup location, skipping the line.
  • Uber plans to offer the service at concerts, festivals and theaters too.

Also announced Monday by Uber:

  • Uber Travel: reserve rides for each leg of your itinerary in advance.
  • Uber Charter: book a party bus, passenger van or coach bus.
  • Vouchers for Events: cover the cost of rides for your wedding guests or employees.
  • Autonomous Delivery: two pilot programs in Los Angeles, using self-driving cars from Motional and sidewalk robots from Serve Robotics.
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