Uber wants its bread-and-butter ride-sharing service to be all-electric by 2030 in the United States, Canada, and Europe, the company announced Tuesday. Uber also plans to make every service on its platform zero-emissions by 2040, and to achieve net-zero carbon emissions from its corporate operations by 2030.
The 2030 goal is dependent on working with local stakeholders "to implement policies that ensure a fair transition to EVs for drivers," Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement.
The company will start by expanding its Uber Green option to "more than 15" U.S. and Canadian cities. This allows customers to select an electric car or hybrid with the push of a button, albeit with an extra $1.00 charge. That means riders are effectively subsidizing Uber's move toward lower emissions.
At least that money will go directly to drivers. In the U.S. and Canada, hybrid and EV drivers will get an extra $0.50 per Uber Green trip directly from riders, will EV drivers will get an additional $1.00, bringing the total incentive to $1.50 per trip.
Uber also said it would also commit $800 million to help drivers in the U.S., Canada, and Europe transition to electric cars, and will work with automakers to get deals for drivers. That includes General Motors in the U.S. and Canada, and Renault-Nissan in France, the Netherlands, Portugal, and the United Kingdom.
In the U.S., Uber will work with Avis on discounted EV rentals. The company is also partnering with multiple charging networks in different markets to give ride-sharing drivers discounted charging.
2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV
Uber is also expecting some participation by local governments. The company noted that in London, where it has implemented a "Clean Air Plan" in concert with city officials, over 1 million electric trips were completed in 2019. Uber plans to launch a similar plan for France, which will include company matches toward EV purchases by its French drivers.
In addition to ride-sharing Uber offers Lime bike and scooter rentals, carpooling, and public-transit partnerships on its digital platform. These services are expected to continue, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic curtailing demand.
Uber is following rival Lyft, which announced in June it was also aiming to go all-electric by 2030—and is getting a little more specific about exactly how it will get there (largely through subsidized rental programs at first). It's likely a necessary step for the ride-sharing industry's long-term survival.
Earlier this year, a California report laid it out bluntly: That because ride-hailing increased the amount of miles with only the driver in the vehicle, ride-hailing needs to go electric so it won't add to pollution.
Last year, a study looking at air pollution in London and Paris found that ride-hailing was worsening air quality in those cities.
So it's not all that surprising that each EV put to use in ride-sharing delivers a bigger benefit. A recent study found that EVs used in these services deliver greater environmental benefits than in personal use.