Ride-sharing service Uber will halve service fees for electric vehicle drivers between now and mid-2025, in a bid 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 equivalent to a $26 million investment in the Australian electric vehicle (EV) market.
The first 2500 drivers to make the switch are eligible for half-price service fees, up to a value of $3500 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 nearly five times around Australia.
“One electric vehicle on the Uber platform can help the equivalent of 100 riders a month get from A to B, with rideshare drivers realising three to four times greater emissions savings compared to average car owners,” said Uber Australia and New Zealand general manager, Dom Taylor.
“We want to work with Governments, vehicle manufacturers and key stakeholders in the industry to accelerate the rate of EV adoption across Australia so that together we can create a more sustainable transport future.”
A survey conducted by Uber in 2021 said almost 60 per cent of its drivers were looking to go electric by 2026, but only if it could be made more cost-effective.
Mr Taylor last year said Uber will “lose money” on every ride with half-price service fees, but believes “the benefits” of large swathes of the company’s fleet moving to electric power “will be worth it”. Uber has previously said it wants to be a zero-emissions company by 2040.
Electric vehicle sales are growing in Australia, albeit at a slower rate than elsewhere in the world. To date in 2022, pure-electric cars have accounted for just 1.9 per cent of sales in Australia.
Fleet buyers such as Hertz, or fleet operators such as Uber, have been touted as key players in driving the move from internal-combustion to electric power.
Not only do fleets buy lots of new cars at a time, those vehicles eventually find their way to the used car market where regular punters can buy them at lower prices.
Australian EV Council chairman, Behyad Jafari, said electric vehicles populating the Uber fleet will also allow more people to “experience the performance of an electric car”.
“That’s what makes Uber’s initiative so great,” Mr Jafari said. “Not only will it help drivers on its platform go electric, but it will provide riders with an opportunity to experience new sustainable innovation.”