Dhruvika writes on sustainable practices in various sectors for BuzzOnEarth. Get in touch with her at dhruvika@buzzonearth.com. Sometimes she reads her emails too.

The ride-sharing giant Uber is planning some big changes in the cab service. But don’t worry, nothing is going downhill. Instead, it’s a sustainable upgrade for transportation. The grand scheme is to increase the number of electric vehicles (EVs) on the road in order to cut emissions.

In Uber Newsroom blog, Adam Gromis, Global Lead for Sustainability and Environmental Impact, wrote that the company is shifting focus on EVs with EV Champions initiative. With electric mobility combined with automation, the aim is to reduce the climate footprint in transportation. The target is to deliver at least 5 million EV rides over the next year.

Image: Flickr

The program is already initiated in 7 cities in US and Canada- Austin, Los Angeles, Montreal, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle. Several partnerships involving experts in EV adoption team up together.

“We see the writing on the wall,” Adam Gromis, Uber’s head of sustainability, told the Los Angeles Times. “Unless we can be delivering a more efficient form of mobility, we won’t be providing a good solution that cities need. That’s why we’ve gone into bikes. That’s why we’re working with transit. That’s why we’re focused on electrification.”

More and more electric vehicles are being adopted in major cities these days. So, Uber is also stepping up its game to keep up with the eco-friendly trend. The company is also paying extra to drivers who are driving EVs and charging their vehicles for free though SMUD’s DC fast charging network.

Uber is also aware of the shortcomings of EVs. While Uber drivers don’t have to pay for gas, charging of the vehicle takes significant time and they could end up losing many rides. On top of it, the lack of electric charging stations also makes EVs a tad difficult.

To combat these challenges, Uber is planning ahead. In addition to providing extra wages to EV riding drivers, the drivers will get a 30-minute trip notification if the vehicle is low on battery. It would warn them if they should pick the next ride or not.

Uber is also keen on raising awareness about EVs among their users. The app will give out a notification to the rider if their booking is an EV.

The move to slowly inch towards electric vehicles is a smart one. EVs are the future of transportation as the whole world is shifting towards clean energy and away from fossil fuels. The sooner Uber realizes that better it would be for the business. The road to sustainability is long, but Uber can drive us there.


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