Uber is announcing a new program to support and encourage the use of electric vehicles in Portland, similar to an intiative it has piloted around the world.
This is Uber’s first attempt at such a program in the U.S., and it includes a partnership with Uber subsidiary Xchange Leasing to help drivers lease electric vehicles; incentives for drivers to become ambassadors who speak to riders about the benefits of electric vehicles; a partnership with Cynergy E-Bikes to get electric bikes for UberEATS couriers; and partnerships with Arcimoto, a Eugene, Ore.-based electric vehicle manufacturer, and Portland General Electric to site charging stations.
“Uber sees strong potential for clean vehicle technologies to deliver drivers and riders with more efficient, less-polluting mobility,” Uber General Manager for Oregon, Bryce Bennett said in a statement. “Ultimately this new initiative reflects our desire to move more people with fewer, fuller and more efficient vehicles. It will also provide added economic benefits to drivers.”
Uber said approximately 100 of its 6,000 drivers in the Portland area use electric vehicles. While that may not seem like much, the company says that ratio already outpaces the general population. Uber’s goal is to incentivize drivers to switch to electric vehicles, adding hundreds to its fleet.
Bennett said Uber chose the location for the program because “Portland and the State of Oregon are national leaders in the transition to clean energy and electric vehicles.” Uber has also run pilots of its electric vehicle program in London, Johannesburg, Paris, Madrid and Lisbon.
Uber is also working with Drive Oregon, a Portland-based nonprofit whose mission is to increase EV use throughout the state, and Black Parent Initiative, which supports low and moderate income parents to enhance the lives of black youth in the Portland area.