Tesla Model 3 Owner Drives For Uber & Lyft In Kentucky — #CleanTechnica Interview

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Andy Slye is a videographer/filmmaker and Uber driver who lives in Louisville, Kentucky. He doesn’t drive a Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, or Ford Escape, though — his vehicle is a fully electric Tesla Model 3. As far as he knows, his Tesla is the only one of its kind being used as an Uber vehicle in his area. You can see how some of his passengers react to riding in it in a video he made, a video that actually got retweeted by Tesla and Elon Musk last week (after we interviewed Andy). Below are Andy’s answers to questions we asked about the Model 3 and his experience with it in Kentucky.

1. How long have you had your Model 3, and what are your impressions so far?

I picked it up in Cincinnati at the end of April, so almost 6 months now. I absolutely love it. It’s been such a joy to drive, and the fact that I haven’t been to a gas station in months feels really good. I summed up my feelings of the car in my full Model 3 video review.

2. Which version do you have, and what is the range?

I have the 310-mile Long Range RWD first production version with the premium interior. I also purchased Enhanced Autopilot.

3. How long have you been driving for Uber?

I signed up for Lyft and Uber shortly after getting my Model 3, but I didn’t start actively looking for rides until recently. I’ve given a total of 12 rides so far between both apps.

4. Is that your main job or a side gig? 

Ridesharing is only a minor side gig for me at the moment. I mainly do it because I enjoy my Model 3 so much that I look for any excuse to drive it. Videography and YouTube are my primary focuses.

5. The Model 3 must be much comfortable to drive for long periods because there is no gas motor vibration or noise. Is that true?

For sure. Not only is the Model 3 fun to drive, but it’s also extremely relaxing and comfortable. It’s almost a guarantee for my wife to fall asleep within about 5 minutes when she rides in the passenger seat. The silence when driving at slow speeds and when at a stop is so much better than hearing a gasoline engine. In my Uber video one of my riders specifically points out how smooth the ride is in the backseat.

6. Would you ever go back to driving a gas-powered car?

Never. I wouldn’t go back to a gas-powered car even if it were full of free Snickerdoodle cookies (and I love Snickerdoodle cookies). Choosing an EV is one of the best decisions I’ve made in adulthood.

7. Uber obviously works with drivers who have EVs. Was the process for signing up to drive with a Tesla any different from using a gas-powered car?

I believe the process is the same, although I never signed up with a gas-powered car. The biggest difference is probably the inspection. The mechanic was so flabbergasted at the futuristic Model 3 and spent about 10 minutes asking me all about it (something that probably wouldn’t happen with a similarly priced gasoline car.)

8. In the video, it seems as though every passenger is happy to be in your car. Is that true in most cases?

Yes, every rider I’ve had in my Model 3 has been amazed or excited in some way and has left with a smile on their face. People always seem to be genuinely impressed by it.

9. Had you driven an EV before you got the Model 3?

No, I pretty much “went in blind” when I put my $1,000 reservation down in March 2016. Two months before getting my own Model 3, I drove to Chicago just to rent a Model 3 on Turo so I could test drive it. Of course I ended up loving it, and that solidified my decision to go through with my purchase.

10. Why did you decide to go with a Model 3 instead of a Chevy Bolt or a Model S?

I’ve always dreamt of having a Tesla ever since I first heard about them in 2008 when the original Roadster made some headlines. I knew the Model S was out of my price range, and I knew I wouldn’t quite get the “Tesla experience” from a Chevy. So as soon as the Model 3 was announced I knew that would be my next car. It’s a perfect fit for me.

11. When people are looking for a ride in your area, can they search for an EV with an app, or no?

I don’t believe so, which is unfortunate. I would love for Uber/Lyft riders to be able to specifically request a Tesla or even an EV. Hopefully, that feature will come in the future.

12. Have you had repeat customers who want to ride in the Model 3 again?

No, I haven’t been giving rides long enough to get repeat customers, but I’m sure all my previous riders would jump at the chance to ride in the Model 3 again.

13. If this is too sensitive, you don’t have to answer it, but does driving for Uber pay for the car loan and enough for you to survive?

I think if I drove enough during peak times on Lyft Lux and Uber Select (both of which the Model 3 qualifies for) the premium rates from those would probably pay pretty well. To give an example, I was gone from my house for a total of 2½ hours on a Saturday afternoon giving rides, and in that timeframe I earned $76. That comes to about $30/hour, which is pretty good.

14. What insurance coverage do you have for it?

I chose Progressive because they had the best rate for my Model 3, and their Ridesharing coverage is affordable.

15. Are there Tesla chargers near you, or do you mostly charge at home?

There’s one Supercharger in Louisville, but I always charge at home when I’m driving locally. It’s against Tesla’s Supercharger Fair Use Policy to charge at Superchargers during commercial use (Ridesharing, etc).

16. How long does it take to charge to complete?

My NEMA 14-50 outlet in my garage gives my Model 3 approximately 30 miles of range per hour of charge. So, theoretically speaking, it would take about 10 hours to charge from 0% to 100% when charging at home. But I don’t think I’ve ever let my Model 3 get below 15% and I only charge to 100% when I need it for road trips. For my daily driving I set the charge limit to 80%.

17. How many miles do you drive in a day, and how many days do you work each week?

On average I drive my Model 3 about 80 miles per day during weekdays.

18. Are you the only Model 3 Uber driver in your area?

Until someone proves me wrong, I’m just going to assume that I’m the only current Model 3 Uber/Lyft driver in my area, which is a pretty cool thing to say.

Image Credit: Andy Slye

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Jake Richardson

Hello, I have been writing online for some time, and enjoy the outdoors. If you like, you can follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JakeRsol

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