Uber expands green rides option to 1,400 cities

Uber has expanded to more than 1,400 cities in North America a program that incentivizes drivers to use all-electric and hybrid vehicles. New locales include Austin, Houston, Miami and New York City as part of the ride-hailing company’s broader plan to become a zero-emission platform by 2040.

The program, known as Uber Green, gives customers the option to request an EV or hybrid electric vehicle. Drivers receive an extra $0.50 from a $1 rider surcharge for every Uber Green trip completed. Uber said Tuesday it is integrating the program into its Uber Pass membership service and will give members 10% off on “green” trips, the same discount provided for a standard ride.

Of course, the success of Uber Green hinges on its ability to get drivers to make the switch. The company has set aside $800 million to get its drivers to use electric vehicles by 2025.

Now, it’s beginning to roll out programs through partnerships with automakers, charging network providers, and EV rental and fleet companies to provide further incentives. Uber said Tuesday drivers in Los Angeles can rent electric vehicles through a partnership with Avis. The program will expand nationwide in 2021.  

Uber has also partnered with Ample. Starting this month, drivers in San Francisco can rent a vehicle with Ample battery swapping technology, which lets them switch out the electric vehicle batteries in minutes. 

The company has also expanded its partnership with EVgo to give drivers on its ride-hailing platform access to charging discounts at more than 800 U.S. locations.

Uber’s zero-emission goal will require more than getting drivers and riders to use EVs. The company is expanding other programs as well, including its journey-planning feature for public transit users. The feature, which is now available in more than 40 cities globally, is accessed through the Uber app and lets users plan their public transit journey and includes walking directions to stations and real-time schedules. The company said Tuesday it has added the feature for users in Atlanta, Auckland, Brisbane, Buenos Aires, Guadalajara, Philadelphia, Rome, Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai. 

Uber said it is also bringing to Mexico City and London a multimodal trip planner that combines ride-hailing with walking directions and city bus, subway or train connections. The feature launched in Sydney and Chicago.