Jul 26, 2022 - Energy & Environment

Uber has to teach people how to open Tesla doors

Image of an Uber notification explaining to riders how to open the door of a Tesla
Some Uber riders are befuddled about how to get into a Tesla. Image courtesy Uber

Uber says customers are enthusiastic about the ride-hailing company's newest option — Comfort Electric — which allows them to summon a ride in a Tesla or other premium electric car.

There's only one problem: Some Uber riders can't figure out how to operate the door handle of a Tesla, which lies flush against the car's body.

  • As the new service rolls out, Uber has found it needs to follow up each Tesla ride confirmation with some instructions: “To open the door, push wide part of handle with thumb. Then grab and pull handle to open.”

It's an unexpected wrinkle in Uber's effort to get more drivers and riders to go electric.

  • The Comfort Electric option debuted in May in San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles.
  • Riders tap a button to request a ride in a premium EV such as a Tesla, Polestar, or Ford Mustang Mach-E.

Driving the news: Axios is first to report that starting Tuesday, Uber is expanding Comfort Electric to seven additional cities: Austin, Baltimore, Denver, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Portland, and Seattle.

The big picture: Uber says it's committed to becoming a zero-emissions mobility 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 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. It recently expanded the program to major Canadian cities.
  • Uber says that so far more than 15,000 drivers have rented a Tesla through Hertz and together they’ve completed more than five million fully electric trips.
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