Uber Reveals Its Electric Vehicle Strategy
JUN 16 2017 BY STEVEN LOVEDAY
Uber will reveal details regarding its shared, electric, and autonomous mobility trifecta at the upcoming Grid Edge World Forum.
Uber’s sustainability manager, Adam Gromis, will be leading a panel entitled “Building an EV Infrastructure Market” at the Grid Edge World Forum in San Jose, from June 27-29, 2017. He shared:
“We’re absolutely plugged in and looking for ways to be moving toward that dreamy future of high-efficiency mobility that includes lots of components — from ride-sharing to autonomous drive and electric mobility.”
Multiple projections assert that mobility, and more specifically, ride-sharing/ride-hailing is the way of the future. Some say that car ownership may eventually disappear. Many analysts believe that electric and autonomous vehicles could be the top mode of transportation by 2031.
In order for this to happen, the three pieces of the puzzle — shared, electric, and autonomous — need to work in harmony. All can obviously exist independently, but that doesn’t make nearly as much sense.
While self-driving cars don’t need to be electric, most are. Ride-hailing companies don’t need electric cars, or autonomous cars, but it’s the direction things are headed. Quiet cars, low maintenance, increased safety technology, wireless charging, environmentally friendliness … what’s not to like?
Uber has one piece of the trifecta figured out. Its shared vehicle platform is extremely successful. The company is also well underway with autonomous vehicle development and testing. Now, it’s time for the electric vehicle part of the equation.
Uber is running a new pilot program in Portland, Oregon, similiar to another that it previously launched in London. The new program is a partnership with Drive Oregon to promote EV education, and create incentives to encourage EV adoption. Currently, Portland is home to about 100 Uber EV drivers, of the 6,000 total Uber drivers. While this number seems low, it’s better than the percentage of people in the general public that drive EVs, and the program aims to add many more. Public outreach, electric vehicle leasing options, and EV Ambassador incentives are just a few of Uber’s strategies. Gromis said:
“We think we can be helpful as Portland and other cities try to figure out how to move toward more sustainable mobility and drive electrification in the vehicle fleet.”
“It’s less about a government or nonprofit or utility thinking, ‘How do I get an EV in every household?’ and more about getting people to go places in EVs more on a miles and trips basis.”
Uber has learned from programs in other parts of the world that EV drivers get higher ratings than ICE drivers, and are more engaged with Uber. As Uber, and other similar companies, moves forward with EV strategies, it should help encourage more widespread adoption, as well as create a growing need for infrastructure development. Ride-sharing companies also collect a multitude of data that can prove useful to power companies, and those planning locations for charging stations.
We will provide additional information following the upcoming Grid Edge World Forum.
Source: Greentech Media