Uber Is Spending $26 Million to Encourage Aussie Drivers to Take up EVs

Uber Is Spending $26 Million to Encourage Aussie Drivers to Take up EVs
Image: iStock

Rideshare giant Uber has announced a massive $26 million investment in the Australian EV market.

The investment includes incentives for Uber drivers with an electric vehicle (a 50 per cent service fee cut for drivers using EVs until June 30, 2025) and is a part of Uber’s zero-emissions by 2040 program. It follows on from Uber’s “EV Hub” launch, which is essentially a one-stop shop where drivers can get information and incentives to join the “electric revolution”, and compare the cost of ownership of an EV versus a non-EV.

“At Uber we believe the future of transport is shared and electric and we are committed to accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles in Australia. This investment is about providing incentives to help driver partners make the switch to electric, and the results from the past year have been phenomenal,” said Dom Taylor, the general manager of rides at Uber Australia and New Zealand.

“The number of driver-partners using EVs on the platform has almost quadrupled, with five times as many EV trips being taken now than before we began the initiative, equating to over 500 tonnes of C02 emissions saved.

“So we know this approach is producing results and we also know that driver partners want the program extended. We want to do our bit – we’ve listened to them and have extended this initiative for another three years.”

This is a pretty big deal. We have some-20,000 Uber drivers in Australia and you really only need to open the app in Sydney’s CBD to see just how many drivers there are in car-heavy parts of the country.

Australia’s uptake of electric vehicles has been pretty slow compared to the rest of the world, influenced by a range of factors like our location in the world, our outgoing government’s unwillingness to support the sector and a lack of fuel efficiency standards… To name a few, but those are the big ones.

In the Uber press release, the company notes that only 0.7 per cent of annual vehicle sales are electric vehicles, however with enthusiasm from the federal government (Labor wants to back EVs quite a bit, actually) and financial support from the private sector (queue Uber) we’ll likely see this change. We’re expecting tonnes of electric vehicles to make their way to Australia next year, however we’re still lagging behind in charging stations… And electric cars are still really expensive.

Still, the more EVs on the road the better off we’ll be (that is, if you’re patient enough to wait for one).

“Australians understand that electric vehicles help clean the air, cut carbon emissions, and reduce our dependence on imported oil, meaning they are keen to see more on our roads,” said Behyad Jafari, the CEO of the Electric Vehicle Council.

“What we know is the best way to support people going electric is to take a ride in or drive one. Once you experience the performance of an electric car, there’s no going back. That’s what makes Uber’s initiative so great – not only will it help drivers go electric, but it will provide riders with an opportunity to experience new sustainable innovation.”

This initiative kicks off from today and follows on from a service fee reduction test Uber was trialling last year. During that trial, the number of EV-owning Uber drivers increased by four times and EV trips increased by five times nationally.

The company claims that an average of $5,500 was saved in service fees and fuel savings during the test and that 502 tonnes of C02 were saved.

Looking forward to seeing a Tesla Model 3 Uber rock up when I’m stinging to get home at 1 am from Darling Harbour.