Uber has announced the launch of its new EV Hub and Comfort Electric, which will help its goal of putting 50,000 EVs on the road by 2023. Uber and Hertz announced this goal last year right after Hertz purchased 100,000 Tesla EVs.
Uber held its Go/Get 2022 livestream and unveiled a lot of new features along with several sustainability goals and aspirations. During the livestream, Uber announced its EV Hub, Charging Map, and Uber Comfort Electric.
Uber has laid out plans to become a zero-emissions mobility platform by 2040. This is one of the first steps toward making this happen. The EV Hub, Charging Map, and new Uber Comfort Electric will help the company reach its goals.
After the presentation, Uber held a Q&A for members of the press to chat with executives about the presentations. In the Sustainability Room, Uber’s Vice President of Product Management, Sachin Kansal, shared more details about EV Hub and Uber Comfort Electric. Here’s what those of us attending learned.
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— Uber (@Uber) May 16, 2022
Uber EV Hub
Uber said that it wants to help drivers go electric because that is core to its goal of becoming the cleanest mobility platform on the planet. According to Uber, the EV Hub which will be in the Uber Driver App is a “one-stop-shop where they can get information and incentives to join the electric revolution, and even compare the cost of ownership of an EV with a non-EV.”
Kansal emphasized Uber’s plans to go all-electric in North America and Europe by 2023 and said that Uber was investing $800 million by 2025 while building product experiences. He also shared a bit more about the EV Hub, which will give detailed information on electric vehicles as well as driver incentives. The EV Hub will allow drivers to compare the costs of owning an EV with owning a fossil-fueled vehicle.
EV Charging Map
The EV Charging Map will help Uber drivers find easier access to chargers and include details such as location, charging speeds, and navigation.
Kansal added that the EV Charting map will be powered by many partnerships. He said that Uber will also provide information about charging and charging speed on the Uber map and that they plan to launch it this summer. There will also be partnerships to give discounts to drivers.
Kansal elaborated on a study in the UK that Uber undertook. In this study, they looked at where drivers were commonly driving and identified places where they could invest in charging infrastructure. He pointed out that these places didn’t yet have an EV charging infrastructure set up.
Uber Comfort Electric
Uber Comfort Electric will be a new service that Uber customers such as myself will be able to use. I don’t own a car and use Uber quite often. I asked Kansal when this feature would be in Baton Rouge, which is a small or medium-sized city (222,000) in Louisiana. He said he’d like to see it everywhere as soon as possible.
Uber Comfort Electric will allow customers to ride in a premium EV such as a Tesla or a Polestar and is currently available in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, and Dubai. Kansal said that more cities are coming soon and reiterated the goal of 50,000 EVs on the roads by 2023.
Kansal also told me that Uber Green, which is a low-emission service of Ubers that enables customers to choose either an EV or hybrid EV, has seen a lot of traction. It’s not currently available in Baton Rouge. Although, I have been in a few hybrids and one Tesla taking Uber here. That Tesla ride was how I found out about the Louisiana Tesla Facebook group.
The pricing of Uber Comfort Electric will range between the prices of Uber Comfort and Uber Black. Kansal added that this service was designed around feedback from Uber drivers.
As someone who depends on Uber since the local bus system isn’t that great in my neighborhood, it was great being able to interact with Uber and its executives from the perspective of both a customer and an EV journalist.
I also find it encouraging that Uber wants to become the cleanest mobility provider on the planet, and I have a bit of feedback for Uber. One thing I have heard from many Uber drivers here in Baton Rouge is that they are not paid enough for their trips. When the gas prices were incredibly high last month, there was kind of a shortage of drivers because the common complaint was that drivers couldn’t afford to drive.
I think Uber is doing well at incentivizing going electric and helping drivers rent EVs from Hertz, but I do think they need to also consider the typical ICE vehicle driver who might be struggling. Maybe create a program that allows them a free day per month in an EV? And I do think Uber would do very well to expand EV outreach to drivers living in smaller cities such as Baton Rouge.
I’ve had several conversations with Uber drivers about EVs, and the majority of the drivers I’ve spoken with were excited about EVs but saddened that they couldn’t afford them. I know it’s not Uber’s responsibility to make EVs affordable, but perhaps there’s a place for a program that give drivers in smaller cities a monthly experience in an EV to not only encourage them to one day make the switch but to also help them save money on gas for that day.
I think Uber’s initiatives toward EVs are excellent and I personally can’t wait to see more EVs showing up at my door whenever I need to go grocery shopping. Let’s hope the programs keep succeeding and growing.