By Nathalie Voit
Uber is rolling out a new electric vehicle option on its platform so environmentally conscious consumers can order zero-emission rides from the company, Uber said in an announcement on May 16.
Uber Comfort Electric, the company’s latest “climate” solution, will roll out this week in some California cities, including Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco, with more cities to follow. The new feature will allow customers to request a ride from a “premium” electric vehicle (EV) like a Tesla or a Polestar.
The ride-sharing app already offers sustainable rides via Uber Green, its low- or no-emission ride option currently available in hundreds of urban markets worldwide. For an additional $1 fee, customers can summon “green” rides from hybrid or fully electric vehicles. Half of the proceeds go to the driver as an economic incentive; the other half supports other drivers with fossil-fuel vehicles transition to electric.
The updates build on Uber’s commitment to becoming a zero-emission mobility platform by 2040.
“We’ve set a high bar for ourselves to become the cleanest mobility platform on earth – and enlisting drivers to join in the effort is a crucial step,” Uber Vice President of Product Sachin Kansal said in a statement, according to The Hill.
Uber drivers will have access to insights on going electric, including information on EV charging stations and EV vehicle discounts and promotions. Uber also rolled out an EV cost calculator tool that lets drivers compare the lifetime costs of a specific gasoline vehicle against an electric one.
The new offering is part of a broader suite of changes to advance electrification on the company’s driver platform.
The ride-hailing giant is currently helping hundreds of thousands of drivers transition to battery EVs by 2025 through its Green Future program. Eligible drivers can apply for the Zero Emissions incentive, which lets drivers earn an extra $1 on every trip and up to $4,000 annually for driving fully electric models. The company appropriated $800 million for the initiative.
Uber also partnered with Hertz last year to offer EV rentals from Tesla for drivers. Rental drivers can benefit from gas savings and potentially higher earnings under the company’s Green Future program. Rideshare drivers who go electric will also have access to the Tesla Supercharger network, and to Uber’s exclusive EVgo discounts, the company said in a statement in October.
The news comes amid reports of what Expedia is projecting to be the busiest summer travel season on record.