Uber has detailed a “landmark vehicle partnership” with BYD’s local distributor EVDirect that sees 10,000 Atto 3 electric SUVs become available immediately to Uber drivers and delivery people.
These 10,000 BYD Atto 3s are available through a range of financing and leasing options. These include long-term financing that ends in full ownership of the vehicle, as well as a flexible ownership arrangement with the option to return the vehicle after a minimum term.
More flexible rental and ownership offerings will be detailed and become available in early 2024.
“Two-thirds of drivers have told us they want to make the switch to an EV, but the number one barrier to doing so is the upfront cost of the car,” said Uber Australia and New Zealand general manager Dom Taylor.
“Through our new partnership with EVDirect, we are addressing that challenge head-on.
“Our goal is to provide drivers and delivery people a range of flexible options that make it easier than ever to get behind the wheel of an EV.”
In addition, Uber claims adoption of EVs on its platform in Victoria has been “slower than hoped”.
To help rectify this, the ride-share company has announced an additional 500 places in its Service Fee Reduction program, exclusively for Victorian drivers.
From November 1, the selected Victorian drivers who complete trips on the Uber platform will have their service fees reduced by 50 per cent, up to $3500 per financial year, through to June 2025.
The company has also launched its first all-electric ride-share option, Comfort Electric, exclusively to Uber for Business customers.
Comfort Electric allows Uber for Business customers to ride in a “premium” EV with highly rated drivers “suitable for business travel”.
It’s available now for Uber for Business customers across Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, and Adelaide.
Comfort Electric follows the introduction of Uber Green earlier this year which allows riders to choose a hybrid or EV. It’s the same price as a standard UberX.
Uber has previously said it’s planning to go all-electric from 2030 in certain markets including the USA, Canada and Europe. This is part of a wider, overarching goal of becoming a zero-emissions company by 2040.
In the third quarter of 2023 alone, more than 1.2 million Uber riders were taken in an EV. In the same period, more than 2400 EVs operated on the Uber platform.
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 said last year the company will “lose money” on every ride with half-price service fees, but believes “the benefits” of swathes of the company’s fleet moving to electric power “will be worth it”.