While rideshare companies like Uber have improved transportation options for people worldwide, the vehicles have also contributed to increased traffic congestion and carbon emissions. Because of that, ridesharing the ideal target for the electric vehicle transition.
EVgo, the largest public electric vehicle charging network in the United States, is looking to increase the number of electric vehicles on the road by partnering with Uber to offer discounted rates to rideshare drivers based on how many miles they travel in a day. The higher-volume drivers will get the most significant price cut on charging their vehicles.
According to Jonathan Levy, senior vice president of business development for EVgo, the typical retail driver in the United States can drive around 200 miles per week. A rideshare driver, however, can hit that number in a day. So while home chargers for electric vehicles can take four to six fours to fill a fully depleted battery, rideshare drivers need something more efficient. With EVgo’s Level 3 charger, Uber drivers could get their vehicle charged over their lunch break—in as little as 20 minutes.
To meet the demand, EVgo will need to build a fast-charging infrastructure across the country. Currently, the company has 800 stations in the United States—many of which are located in California. The majority of them are clustered in urban areas and ridesharing hotspots. To build that infrastructure, EVgo has partnered with General Motors to create 2,700 fast-charging stations over the next five years.
In an interview with Cheddar, Levy, regarding the partnership, said, “It’s this great opportunity to hit a couple birds with that one stone: decarbonize the transportation sector, get Uber drivers and other rideshare drivers into great vehicles, and help expose passengers to the benefits of electrified driving.”
At this time, it’s unclear what percentage of rideshare drivers have transitioned to electric vehicles, but according to Levy, it’s still in the early days when it comes to making the switch. For the moment, the benefits of helping rideshare drivers transition to electric vehicles stem from their outsized contribution to emissions.
The partnership between EVgo and Uber goes along with Uber’s commitment to becoming a zero-emission mobility platform by investing $800 million to help hundreds of thousands of drivers transition to electric cars by 2025. The company plans to offer customers the option to select an electric or hybrid vehicle, and drivers were able to begin signing up for the discount program on Uber’s website last week.