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Uber to Pay Drivers Who Go Electric

Driving for Uber can be a great way to rake in cash, and if you drive an electric vehicle for the ride-hailing company, you could pocket even more dough.

In late June, the company launched the EV Champions Initiative, a pilot program for driver-partners to deliver at least five million EV rides over the next year. The program kicked off in seven cities — Austin, Los Angeles, Montreal, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle, working with leading electric vehicle (EV) adoption experts.

In a press release, Uber says it hopes to "better equip both plug-in electric and full battery electric vehicle drivers for success."

Extra Cash, Extra Education

Uber hasn’t said how much more drivers of electric vehicles may make, as monetary incentives will vary from city to city while the company tests the impact of the different benefits. According to the Los Angeles Times, drivers in Pittsburgh, San Francisco and San Diego can expect to receive $1 extra per ride after switching to an electric car. Not a ton of extra cash, but every little bit helps.

Not every city will provide financial perks, however. In the City of Angels, for example, drivers of electric vehicles will snag education, not cash. SoCal drivers can expect to receive notification of EV benefits such as state rebates, HOV-lane access for those riding solo and rebates on the installation of electric chargers.

Getting Schooled

Uber wants to squash any kind of "range anxiety" often present with driving an electric car, so in conjunction with the pilot program, the company has also tweaked its smartphone app to alert EV drivers of trips that will last 30 minutes or more so they can plan to hit up a charging station on their route (if need be): "We’re introducing a 30-minute trip notification for drivers so they’ve got an idea of what’s in store on the road ahead before they pick up a rider."

The ride-sharing powerhouse says consumers’ lack of awareness about EVs is often a barrier to adopting more electric transportation. In an effort to do that, any rider in the United States or Montreal matched with a driver-partner in an EV will receive an in-app notification. The company says this is a small step toward driving awareness and encouraging conversations between riders and drivers about EVs.

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