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Uber Bets Big With Embrace of an All-Electric Car Future

Posted on Tuesday, September 5, 2023
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by Neil Banerji
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23 Comments

AMAC Exclusive – By Neil Banerji

driver holding phone with uber app open

Popular rideshare app Uber has fully embraced the left’s radical “green” agenda – and it could eventually bankrupt the company.

Back in 2020, Uber announced that it would electrify the entirety of its U.S., Canadian, and European fleets by 2030, and do the same globally by 2040 – news that likely came as a shock to many drivers. Since Uber drivers use their personal vehicles to transport passengers, Uber’s goal means that all of them will be forced to purchase expensive new electric vehicles or lose out on income that many rely on.

Earlier this year, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told attendees at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado that he views the company as “a global EV ambassador.” Last May, the company also added a new option for riders, “Comfort Electric,” which pre-selects for EVs. In June, Uber launched its new “Uber Green” initiative in India, promising to add 25,000 vehicles to its electric fleet in the near future.

But despite the green ambitions of Uber executives, just 5 percent of Uber’s U.S. miles are driven in EVs currently – meaning that a switch to an all-electric fleet in just over six years would necessitate a seismic shift in the composition of Uber’s fleet.

The company has offered some incentives for drivers to make the switch in recent months, such as an extra $1 for EV drivers on every trip. In total, the company has announced $800 million in investments to aid drivers in the transition.

However, with more than 5.4 million active drivers worldwide, that equates to less than $150 per driver. With the average cost of a new electric car still well above $50,000, it seems most drivers will still have to fork over a significant chunk of change to keep driving with Uber.

It’s also worth noting that margins for Uber drivers are already notoriously slim. A study released in March found that drivers’ median net earnings are now $6.20 per hour – well below the federal minimum wage of $7.25. That means that in order to afford a $53,000 electric car (about the average cost of a new EV) an Uber driver can expect to have to work 8,549 hours – more than four years’ worth of full-time work.

Most Uber drivers work lower-paying full-time jobs and ferry passengers as a side hustle to help make ends meet. For many, having to switch to an expensive new electric car is simply a non-starter.

This could leave Uber with a drastic shortage of drivers in the near future. The company has already come under fire this year for refusing to raise the percentage of ride fees that it pays to drivers. As Uber’s stated deadline to switch to EVs approaches, many drivers may decide they’ve had enough and move on to another line of work.

Even if drivers do manage to make the switch to EVs, however, they could run into several major issues.

For starters, while it takes just a few minutes to refuel a gas car, it takes 30 minutes or longer to charge an electric vehicle. As a result, EV Uber drivers who work long shifts could lose out on over an hour of driving – losses that will add up over time.

An even bigger problem will likely be a lack of charging infrastructure. Uber has pointed to London as the showcase for its green agenda, pledging to have an all-electric fleet there by 2025. But Uber has installed less than 25 percent of its planned 600 charging ports in the city, leading to long wait times and mounting frustrations from the drivers of more than 10,000 Uber EVs already on the road. With the number of London-based Uber EVs expected to swell to over 45,000 over the next two years, the problem seems poised to become even worse.

“What would make a difference is more charging, more range, lower-cost cars. All of those things haven’t happened as fast as we were promised,” Vince Cunningham, an Uber electric-vehicle driver in London, told The Wall Street Journal. “More needs to be done.”

There are also serious questions about whether electric grids can even keep up with the increased demand for EV charging. In London, electric prices are already going up. In California, the state government has repeatedly asked residents to not charge their EVs during peak hours.

In a final twist of irony, the additional power that will need to be generated to charge EV batteries will likely be even worse for the environment than traditional gas-powered cars. With renewables like wind and solar unable to generate even a fraction of the country’s demand, energy plants that run on coal and natural gas will be forced to ramp up production significantly.

In other words, Uber’s green ambitions are unlikely to deliver any of the promised environmental benefits, yet they will impose a major financial burden on drivers, forcing many to look elsewhere for work and perhaps even threatening the viability of the entire company.

Neil Banerji is a proud Las Vegas resident and former student at the University of Oxford. In his spare time, he enjoys reading Winston Churchill and Edmund Burke.

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Nick
Nick
7 months ago

Everyone is laboring under the false impression that ICE cars are destrying the environme and warming the planet. Expand your source of news past CNN and MSNBC or actually read a book! Judith Curry or Michael Shellenberger.The left suppresses and cancels any scientists that disagree with them. 1600 scientists from around the world just came out last week denouncing the whole climate change agenda. The media buried it. True science huh? You know they are lying if they cannot stand up to scrutiny. They have been beating this dead horse for 50 years and have been wrong all the time. If you repeat a lie often enoungh people will start to believe it

GGrad
GGrad
7 months ago

Sure glad electricity doesn’t come from coal and oil !! snicker…..

Nick
Nick
7 months ago

Sell your Uber stock! Anyone that thinks the EV is the wave of the future is a useful idiot to the politicos that only want power and control. You buy one of those, you will never resell it. There will be zero market for used EVs. The grid cannot even abosrb the requirements for power today. Just wait for the rolling brownouts and blackouts during winter and no a/c in the summer. It will be ideal won’t it? A lot of sheeple commenting on this

granky
granky
7 months ago

More liberal stupidity, they are destroying our country.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
7 months ago

I’ll put buying an electric car right up on my list along with gasless stoves, no AC, meatless burgers, proper pronouns, and carbon taxes.

Ryan Michaels
Ryan Michaels
7 months ago

Electric vehicles will go the way of Beta recorders.

Morbious
Morbious
7 months ago

Electric can only be a viable option if electric power generation is rapidly increased. If you’re paying attention you’ll note that the dems are totally against nuclear power. They insist that windmills and solar can handle not only current needs but future needs required by switching to electric vehicles. This is bunk. The perpetrators of this fiction dont even believe it. They have veiled goals that can only be reached by making energy scarce and expensive.

Jack
Jack
7 months ago

How many of our “Green” Idiot Demorats actually own an EV and drive it? That bartender turned climate expert, aoc owns or owned one, but her socialist lying a$$ is driven around in a Tahoe. So much for her passion and vision of Green. How many EV’s does biden own? We all know he has a ’67 Corvette – a carbureted “gross polluter” by the left’s own language. This climate change B.S., is just that – B.S.!! When john kerry takes public transportation; all the dems privately own and drive EV’s and congress’ a$$e$ are driven around in EV’s, MAYBE I will think about getting one – MAYBE!!

John Riley
John Riley
7 months ago

If cities would restore their public transportation systems to the level of service they provided pre COVID bullsh*t shut down, UBER would be out of business.

Garyk
Garyk
7 months ago

I’ll boycott uber for supporting the radical marxist democrat ideology of anti American policies.
This is more destruction of America, plain and simple.
Protection of our planet is a daily responsibility for all who live on it, but being fleeced by a ultra radical,unproven ,greedy political agenda is absolute STUPIDITY!
The major offenders are others who are laughing at America while our politicians waste billions more to make themselves feel satisfied and worthy of self praise.

Donald Christian
Donald Christian
7 months ago

I will not ride in these fire traps !!!

Denise
Denise
7 months ago

30 minutes or longer to charge an electric vehicle??? Seriously? Interesting that previous articles have said to fully charge a dead electric vehicle can take up to 4 hours. Also articles on plugging in the car and the drain on the average home electricity. And then there’s good ole’ California that even in the 50’s experienced occasional rolling black outs…and now with our national grids on life support in many areas?
As one wag put it so succinctly: “5% of electric cars made it home last night….the other 95% are still on the road.

Helen Corey
Helen Corey
7 months ago

Electrical delivery mail car was left on side of road all Labor Day weekend. Guess there was no mail truck to tow it to their charging station. There’s going to be a lot of that—abandoned vehicles—if we r mandated to go to all electric vehicles. Bring back horses!!!

anna hubert
anna hubert
7 months ago

If Uber can control mother nature it may have it’s wish

CLIFFORD F GERACI
CLIFFORD F GERACI
7 months ago

Liberals are cray cray.

Wanda Glass
Wanda Glass
7 months ago

They’ve lost a customer. Electric cars are damaging to the total environment and to our economy. Not the Chinese, of course. I won’t support any company that doesn’t show signs of intelligence at headquarters, or common sense.

Michael Lewis
Michael Lewis
7 months ago

Our thought leaders live in a delusional, science fiction world!

Garyk
Garyk
7 months ago

Boycott uber, let the marxist democrat party save them with THEIR money not OURS

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
7 months ago

But we Need:
More commercial charging centers
& Energy to run Grid
& EV makers to resolve issues:
Battery dies on road & cant move car
battery fires
Charging time
Insurance
Locked in/Out
No AAA Road service
BUT I plan to RENT EV

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