We’re advocating for positive change increase the electric kilometres driven on the Uber platform in Australia.
Uber is committed to having 100% of rides globally in zero-emission vehicles or through micromobility and public transport, by 2040.
To date in Australia, we’ve been focused on micromobility, with our Lime e-bike integration, and on working with states on integrating public transport into the app – including with world-leading trials of multi-modal options like Uber + Transit in Sydney – to help create a more sustainable transport future. And in a global first, we also recently switched back on our most environmentally friendly rideshare offering – Uber Pool – in Sydney and Perth, and launched Pool Chance in Adelaide.
But being able to launch green rideshare options, like Uber Green where people can opt to take an electric vehicle, isn’t an option yet. That’s because in Australia, electric vehicles still only represent 0.7% of the million cars sold in Australia annually. For comparison, in the UK, that number is nearing 11%.
We’re advocating for positive change to help close this gap because we want to increase the electric kilometres driven on the Uber platform in Australia sooner rather than later.
That’s because we believe we can have an outsized impact in accelerating the transition to zero emission transport. One electric vehicle on the Uber platform can help 100 riders a month on average get from A to B, compared to one person getting to and from the office a couple of times a week. When rideshare drivers switch to electric vehicles, they also realise three to four times greater emissions savings compared to average car owners, because rideshare drivers use their vehicles more.
We can’t address some of the challenges facing electric vehicle uptake in Australia, but we believe it’s important to do our part. That’s why we’re trying something new. From July 1 2021 to June 30 2022, all existing and new drivers of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) will pay half the service rate they otherwise would.
We believe in doing this we can encourage more Australians with electric vehicles to share sustainable rides with Uber. We’ll learn more about what we can do to drive uptake of EVs and help close the long-term cost gap for EVs in rideshare: the area we believe will have the biggest impact.
We’ll do this for 12 months and see where we stand. We want to see more drivers of electric vehicles join the platform, we want to do what we can to make it more economical for existing electric vehicle drivers to stay on the platform, and we want to be able to match the commitments we’ve made overseas right here at home.
As an Uber driver in a Model 3 SR+, doing 20 hours on weekends in Wollongong plus a little bit around Canberra mid-week, this is a pleasant surprise. I've done up some back-of-the-envelope numbers for my usage case:
On a typical week I lose about $300 of my revenue in uber service fees (last week was $360). Cutting that in half gets me about $7800/yr,
I'm already saving $7500/yr in petrol (less charging costs) - though $5000 is a better example after excluding the weekly long drive to someplace with actual demand (plus other irrelevant reasons).
There's a one-off $5234 you can claim as a GST input tax credit (multiplied by your business use percentage)
And you also get to claim depreciation on the car using the logbook method. It's complicated, but for all intents and purposes you're reclaiming 30% of the car's value over its life.
So, if my numbers are correct, provided the half-off service fee scheme lasts for 4 years (they've committed to one year, but it's likely they'll extend it a couple more years), a part-time Uber driver could buy a base SR+ and it'd pay for itself. A full-time driver going hell-for-leather could do it in 2-3 years, depending on end-of-life depreciation upon disposal.
If they extend it & it looks like it'll persist a few more years, it'll make my upgrade to a Cybertruck inevitable. No scratches, no dents, few/no worries about roos, more elbow room, more headroom, more fun, and an interesting talking point given how many of my riders are cashed-up tradies avoiding RBTs.