Ride-sharing service Uber will halve service fees for electric vehicle drivers by mid-2025, to encourage its operators to move away from petrol, diesel and hybrids.
The new policy, announced this morning, follows a successful 12-month trial in Australia. Uber says the move is the equivalent of a 26 million investment in the Australian electric vehicle (EV) market.
The first 2,500 drivers who make the switch are eligible for a half-price service fee, up to $ 3,500 per year.
According to Uber, more than 378,000 electric trips have been completed since July 1, 2021, and the number of monthly EV trips has increased almost fivefold around Australia.
“While an electric vehicle on the Uber platform can help 100 riders ride A to B per month, Rideshare drivers can realize three to four times more emissions savings than the average car owner,” said Dom Taylor, general manager of Uber Australia and New Zealand.
“We look forward to working with governments, automakers and key industry stakeholders to accelerate EV adoption rates across Australia so that together we can create a more sustainable transportation future.”
A survey conducted by Uber in 2021 found that about 60 percent of its drivers wanted to use electricity by 2026, but only if it could be made more cost-effective.
Mr Taylor said last year that Uber would “lose money” on each trip, including a half-price service fee, but believed that the “benefit” of having a large portion of the company’s fleet go to electric power would be “worth it”. Uber has previously said it wants to be a zero-emissions company by 2040.
Sales of electric cars are growing in Australia, albeit at a slower pace than anywhere else in the world. By 2022, pure-electric cars accounted for only 1.9 per cent of sales in Australia.
Fleet buyers such as Hertz or fleet operators like Uber have been identified as key players in driving from internal-combustion to electric power.
Not only do fleets buy lots of new cars at a time, those vehicles eventually find their way into the used car market where regular punters can buy them at lower prices.
Behaad Jafari, chairman of the Australian EV Council, said the electric vehicles in Uber’s fleet would allow more people to “feel the performance of an electric vehicle”.
“That’s what makes Uber’s initiative so big,” said Mr Jafari. “It will not only help riders to be electric on its platform, but it will also give riders the opportunity to experience new sustainable innovations.”
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