Electric Vehicles Cheaper Than Diesels For Uber Drivers In Many European Capitals

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Transport & Environment has a new report out that shows electric cars can be cheaper for Uber drivers to use than diesel cars in many European capital cities, including Paris, Madrid, Lisbon, and Berlin.

In particular, the study found that medium-sized (C-segment) cars — like the Nissan LEAF, Volkswagen e-Golf, and Volkswagen ID.3 — cost approximately 14% less on average than their diesel counterparts. In Paris, the savings were up to 24%, coming to savings of about €3,000 per year.

The findings assume overnight slow charging and/or “fast charging at preferential rates.” A statement from Transport & Environment noted, “The taxi and ride-hailing markets are best positioned to go fully electric first. The economics of EVs — more expensive to buy but a lot cheaper to run — match perfectly with high-mileage, low-margin businesses like ride-hailing and taxis. Uber-type drivers can do up to five times more kilometers than an average motorist.”

Indeed. We run a fair number of TCO (total cost of ownership) analyses here on CleanTechnica, and one of the general rules is, the more you drive, the more you save if you switch to electric.

As you can see in the chart above, overnight charging is also a key in this analysis. Naturally, you don’t want to be paying high fast charging rates and you don’t want to be stuck not working at the beginning or end of your workday or throughout the day while charging. In my area (not in Europe), I use free charging at various stores. While that works for my current needs, if I was driving for Uber or Lyft for a living (and didn’t have a job where I work online), I imagine I’d go ahead and get a place where I could charge overnight.

As I wrote last night, Lyft just committed to going 100% electric by 2030, and while that’s cool and useful, it’s also 100% expected. As this study shows, electric cars are already more than cost-competitive in certain markets and classes. Even a conservative assumption about further cost reductions and tech improvements in the coming decade should tell any reasonable analyst that high-mileage jobs like these will go electric in the coming years.

Plus, especially in Europe, I think we can expect cities to put down the hammer on deadly and debilitating air pollution. T&E notes, “As cities and countries announce bans on diesel and petrol cars to fight air pollution and climate change, the appeal of driving emissions-free vehicles such as electric cars increases.”

Thinking through more of the ramifications, the organization highlights the fact that such professional drivers will be using charging stations a great deal and charging infrastructure needs to keep pace with expected demand. “In London, the Mayor’s EV infrastructure taskforce estimates that 70% of the demand for slow and normal chargers in residential areas will come from Uber drivers alone.”

Naturally, the biggest benefit to society of all of this is that it will dramatically cut global-heating emissions and harmful air pollution. Though, other benefits should include a quieter, smoother ride; a quieter, more enjoyable city; and the fun of a new space-age electric symphony on our streets.

Graphics courtesy Transport & Environment.

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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