Decarbonizing rideshare programs through EV adoption is a policy goal for many governments and companies across Canada, including Uber
For many Canadians, the experience of catching a ride via the Uber app is a daily occurrence.
With more EV drivers starting to use Uber’s platform every year, some customers may have already experienced what it’s like to get to ride in a zero-emission rideshare vehicle. For those who have, we can see the response is overwhelmingly positive.
But we know there are many current or potential drivers with questions about whether it’s possible to drive rideshare with Uber in an EV or if there are even any benefits to it.
Wayne is an EV driver on the Uber platform with a 4.99-star rating after 3 years and 8,276 trips.
Here is his Ask Me Anything (AMA) about the experience of driving electric on Uber.
AMA: Why did you start driving with Uber?
After 17 years I was laid off from my full-time job in car rentals when the pandemic started in 2020. I worked as a dispatcher at a towing company for a few months but got laid off again. I looked online to see what else I could do and I saw Uber. I started rideshare driving and I found that I really enjoy it because of the flexibility of making my own schedule and I get to meet lots of interesting people.
AMA: When you first started driving with Uber, you had a gas car. Over the three years, you made the switch to a hybrid and, now, a fully electric vehicle. Why?
The savings on gas.
I started driving with Uber with a 2016 Volkswagen Tiguan. It cost me $10,000 a year in gas to do rideshare, so I had to invest in something more economical. I got a 2018 Toyota Prius C which is a hybrid of gas and electric. As such, it saved me $5,000 per year in gas.
A year ago, I attended an electric vehicle test driving event for just rideshare drivers hosted by Plug’n Drive, a non-profit dedicated to helping Canadians make the switch to EVs. I got to try out different EVs and learn about the savings in gas and maintenance like oil changes. In gas alone it would be over $10,000. It was a no-brainer. In six or seven years, an EV would pay for itself. So, I decided to make the switch and buy a Tesla.
AMA: What would you say to other drivers who are hesitant about moving to an EV?
The initial cost is definitely the biggest issue. But I encourage drivers to see it as an investment in their business. If they enjoy being a rideshare driver and plan to keep doing it, it makes sense.
Charging is the next biggest issue drivers are hesitant about. To that, I would say to invest in home charging (if possible) so you can charge overnight and be ready to go in the morning.
AMA: What can Uber do to support drivers in the transition?
Uber is already supporting drivers with an extra $1 per trip when you have an EV.
There’s also this new feature in the U.S. where drivers can share their remaining battery charge with the app so that drivers only receive trips the car can make without an additional stop for charging.
For drivers who have range anxiety, this would be really helpful and I understand it’s rolling out in Canada soon.
AMA: What can governments do to support drivers in the transition?
As I mentioned earlier, the $1 per trip from Uber is helpful. But if there is a way for a government to directly support drivers, it would be very helpful.
To alleviate range anxiety it would be great if we had more public charging stations that drivers can access between trips.
It would also be helpful to have some kind of incentive or rebate from the Ontario government.