Uber recently announced that every vehicle on its global ride-hailing platform will be electric by 2040. The company will contribute $800 million through 20205 to help drivers switch to battery-powered vehicles, including discounts for vehicles bought or leased from partner automakers. Uber, which has over 5 million drivers worldwide, said it formed partnerships with General Motors and the Renault, Nissan, Mitsubishi alliance.
In a separate announcement, GM said the eligible Uber drivers in North America can purchase a 2020 Chevy Bolt and receive a GM employee discount. The discount can be combined with the $8.500 national rebate that’s currently being offered. Bolt U.S. drivers will also be eligible for a discount of 20 percent below sticker price on accessories, including at-home charging equipment.
GM and Uber plan to launch a pilot program in Los Angeles and Denver to offer special financing agreements through GM financial.
“Through this program we’re offering new ways for drivers and customers across the country to fall in love with driving electric,” Steve Majoros, vice president of Chevrolet marketing, said in a statement. “This is a key opportunity to grow Chevrolet’s EV business through a program that matches our expertise and strength with a rideshare platform that brings its own scale and reach.”
Uber says the $800 million program includes discounts for charging and a fare surcharge for electric and hybrid vehicles, which would be offset by an additional small fee charged to customers who request a “green trip.” Uber also says that vehicles on its platform will be zero-emission by 2030. The deals with GM and the Renault alliance focus on the U.S., Canada and Europe. Uber said it was discussing partnerships with other automakers.
Uber has faced much criticism in the past by environmental groups and city officials over pollution. Lyft Inc., Uber’s smaller U.S. rival, in June promised to switch to 100 percent EVs by 2030, but said it would not provide direct financial support to drivers.
Before the pandemic, electric cars made up for only 0.15 percent of North American Uber trip miles. Ride-hail trips overall account for less than 0.6 percent of transportation-sector emissions, according to U.S. data, but the total number of on-demand vehicles has significantly increased since Uber’s launch nearly a decade ago, with 7 billion trips last year, according to Uber’s February investor presentation.
Beginning on Tuesday, all U.S. and Canadian Uber drivers in a fully battery-powered electric vehicle will receive $1 extra per trip, and an additional 50 cents in major U.S. cities if passengers choose to pay extra when booking a “green trip.”