Uber, which wants more of its drivers using zero-emissions vehicles, is partnering with Hertz to put up to half of the 100,000 Teslas the rental car company is buying from Elon Musk’s electric-automaker into operation on its network—with the first cars entering service next week.
By 2023 the San Francisco-based rideshare giant hopes to have drivers using as many as 50,000 Teslas across its U.S. network, via a preferred weekly lease program with Hertz and added enticements to encourage use of the vehicles. The program would be the largest EV initiative to date for any rideshare service in the U.S., kicking off on Nov. 1 in cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Washington D.C., Uber says. It will expand to additional cities in the coming weeks.
“This new program with Hertz aims to create positive environmental benefits by reaching rental drivers, who are often looking to offer rides for more hours and more miles than the average driver,” Andrew Macdonald, Uber’s senior vice president for mobility and business operations, said in a blog post today. “Research shows that when rideshare drivers go electric, they realize three- to four-times greater emissions savings than average car owners.”
Uber’s program with Hertz comes on the heels of the rental company’s bombshell plans to buy at least $4 billion worth of Teslas, the biggest such fleet order for its vehicles in company history. News of Hertz’s plan sent Tesla shares surging to a record high and pushed the company’s market cap past the $1 trillion level. It also dramatically boosted Tesla CEO Musk’s net worth to more than $253.8 billion Forbes estimates, making him far and away the world’s richest person.
In 2020 Uber said it would commit $800 million over five years to get drivers to switch to EVs from gasoline autos with a long-term goal of all rides on its platform being zero-emission by 2040. Hertz has provided a vehicle rental program for Uber drivers since 2016 and the Tesla initiative builds on that.
Starting next week Uber drivers can rent Teslas from Hertz for $334 a week, and the rate will drop to $299 per week as the program expands. The fee includes insurance and vehicle maintenance costs. Drivers will also get incentives through Uber’s Green Future Program that includes $1 more per trip for electric vehicle rides (up to $4,000 per year). They’ll have access to Tesla’s Superchargers and also receive discounted charging rates at EVgo stations, according to Macdonald.
“While this partnership is a step forward to advance electrification on the Uber platform, it’s important to note that owning an electric vehicle is still too often more expensive than a traditional gas-powered vehicle,” he said. “This is a critical challenge that we all must continue tackling together with government leaders through smart policy to bring the cost of EV ownership in line with or below gas-powered cars.”
Uber shares rose less than 1% to $46.02 in New York Stock Exchange trading on Tuesday.