EV chargers must be available to all – Uber

Uber drivers' locations in areas that might not attract charging infrastructure investment needs to be addressed

EV chargers must be available to all – Uber
Uber has partnered with Tesla as part of its electrification push

Government subsidies and investment programmes to support charging infrastructure in less privileged communities are vital for the rollout of more electric Uber vehicles, according to the ride-hailing heavyweight's global head of sustainability Christopher Hook.

Uber currently has 45,700 zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) active on its platform. In the fourth quarter of 2022 a 7.3pc share of trip miles in Europe and 4.7pc of trip miles in the US were completed in ZEVs.

By 2030 the firm wants 100pc of rides in the US, Canada and Europe to be in ZEVs. By 2025, its aim to be 50pc of the way there in seven capital cities across Europe, including London.

"We are at 5.6pc in the US and Canada, 8.4pc in Europe and over 20pc in London — our leading city globally," says Hook. His firm plans be net zero globally by 2040.

"At Uber, we are trying to get everybody into EVs. The drivers who work on our platform do not tend to live in the richer parts of the city and so their access to charging infrastructure is often more limited," Hook tells law firm DLA Piper's report on electric vehicles.

"The government subsidies and investment programmes that provide start-up capital into those spaces are crucial."

Hook notes there is a risk that, without the right incentives, investment happens in places such a city centres, but not suburban areas where Uber drivers often tend to live. But he also highlights two programmes that have already been put in place to address this issue.

Under the US Justice 40 Initiative 40pc of the overall benefits of certain federal investments — including clean and clean transit — must flow to disadvantaged communities.

And in the UK, the Local EV Infrastructure Fund supports local authorities to plan and deliver public charging infrastructure for residents without off-street parking. 

Making the switch

Surveys carried out by Uber found that, depending on the country, 46-72pc of drivers are interested in switching to EVs.

Alongside the availability of charging infrastructure, the cost of EVs remained a significant obstacles for drivers, with 61pc of survey respondents citing this as a critical barrier.

To address this Uber is starting to partner with automakers, financing partners, and fleet solutions providers to extend discounted EV rental, lease and purchase offers to drivers.

Uber is also partnering with rental firm Hertz to make up to 50,000 Teslas available to its drivers, and will extend the partnership to Europe and Canada.

"Our motivation is to try and get every driver on Uber to be driving a net-zero emissions vehicle," says Hook.

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