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Autonomous Vehicles RMI EV ride sharing benefits Image courtesy of iStock

Published on April 8th, 2018 | by Nicolas Zart

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Electric Vehicles Can Save “Ridesharing” Drivers A Lot Of Money Every Year.

April 8th, 2018 by  


ride sharing SPLITWhile our ever entertaining politicians on Capitol Hill exalt the quality of their nebulous successes by congratulating themselves, taxpayers save meager breadcrumbs and still struggle to get by. Thank you, Paul Ryan, but this only shows yet again the high level of disconnect between your lavish politician lifestyle, the unethical alliances forged in Washington D.C. (which represent anything but the constituents), and justification yet again for doing nothing for normal Americans.

However, on a more positive note, consumers and researchers have found that giving up personal cars in favor of ride-sharing and app-based ride-hailing can save Americans a lot of money, while other research has found that using electric vehicles can save the drivers significant costs in this business.

Ridesharing Made More Affordable By EVs

It would probably take an encyclopedia to cover the far-reaching benefits that electric vehicles (EV) have already had on our society, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Carmakers have not been able to keep up with demand, but that’s in part a good sign since it means consumers are seeing the benefits of electric cars and want them.

Around the same time, modern “ridesharing” or “transportation network” companies came about. The infamous Uber and the smoother operating Lyft that have shown that such service is not only viable, but is needed and part of the kaleidoscope of our future electric mobility (e-mobility) solutions. But much still has to be put in place before completely transitioning away from petroleum fossil fuels.

RMI EV ride sharing benefits Image courtesy of iStock

A recent Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) analysis reiterated the potential of transportation network companies (TNCs) — such as Lyft, Uber, and Ride Austin — to cut emissions and save people money. This gives us a better, unique understanding of the opportunity EVs have to offer. Whether in New York (PDF) or in San Francisco (PDF), TNC and taxi services represent 19% of local vehicle miles traveled during weekdays. If only half would travel on electricity, it would offset 1.5 billion pounds of carbon from the atmosphere each year.

RMI EV ride sharing benefits Image courtesy of iStock

Significantly cheaper EV operation and maintenance compared to similar gas cars, even though they have higher upfront price tags, often result in EVs being more affordable, and better overall for the environment. Those fuel and maintenance savings can be further passed down to other more important things and quickly find their way into local communities.

Based on RMI’s calculations, full-time TNC drivers working 50 hours a week can save an average of $5,200 per year in total vehicle expenses with an EV as compared to a typical gas vehicle. I don’t know about you, but I could think of a few things to do with that saved money.

The mobility team at Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) targeted high-utilization vehicles for electrification, as they demonstrate the best economics for EV operation and the highest potential for carbon offset. For the past two years, RMI partnered with the City of Austin, Texas, to support its mobility goals toward developing shared, electric, and autonomous mobility services. Austin offers unique EV charging programs that further bolster the economic savings of driving an electric vehicle. In Austin, the electric utility provides a rebate of up to 50% for a home charging station, a Level 2 charging station that can be purchased and installed for around $1,200.

RMI EV ride sharing benefits Image courtesy of iStock

The regional electricity average is about 12.5 cents per kilowatt-hour, which means an estimated equivalent of $0.86 per gallon. Of course, many utilities have an EV program of some sort that can improve your costs, so look into those options for your locale.

EV Charging At Night & The Grid

RMI EV ride sharing benefits Image courtesy of iStockEVs charging at night can especially cut down on fuel costs. Take, for instance, the Austin Energy utility offering a flat rate of $30 per month for unlimited off-peak charging at home through its EV360 program. Add to this unlimited access to its public charging network for only $50 a year and the deal looks very appealing. Overall, the research found that even without any special privileges, full-time TNC drivers can save over $2,500 a year in fuel costs by switching to an EV. Adding those incentives pushed the EV savings another 50%.

RMI always does a great job focusing on the whole picture when it comes to renewable energy and electric vehicles. In many ways, our stories are often complementary, and this new study from the organization confirms yet again what we’ve claimed about EVs all along — that they can indeed be cleaner and cheaper in the long run in many cases, and possibly safer as well.


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About the Author

Nicolas was born and raised around classic cars of the 1920s, but it wasn't until he drove an AC Propulsion eBox and a Tesla Roadster that the light went on. Eager to spread the news of that full torque, he was invited to write for various CleanTech outlets in 2007. Since then, his passion led to cover renewable energy, test drives, podcasts, shoot pictures, and film for various international outlets both in print and online. Nicolas offers an in-depth look at the e-mobility world through interviews and the many contacts he has forged in those industries. He particularly enjoys communicating about the new e-mobility technology and what it means to us as a society. Today he focuses most of his writing effort on CleanTechnica, a global online outlet that covers the world of electric vehicles and renewable energy. His favorite tagline is: "There are more solutions than obstacles."



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