Uber and Lyft Make Strides Toward EV Transition

Uber’s CEO was in the news this week admitting that Uber has been hiking up the fare prices while also stating that drivers are also getting a higher cut. Both Uber and Lyft are also taking strides toward making the EV transition easier for drivers in Europe and Northern California, respectively. This week, senior RSG contributor Paula Gibbins scrutinizes these news bits and more. Bonus: Harry was on Good Morning America!

Kia and Uber partner to give drivers in 20 European markets discounts to EVs (Tech Crunch)

Summary: Uber and Kia Europe are teaming up to offer drivers in 20 European markets deals on buying, leasing, financing or renting Kia’s e-Niro and e-Soul, the latest move by the ride-hailing giant to achieve its emissions goals.

Uber has committed to being a zero-emission mobility platform across Europe by 2030, and hopes to get up to 30,000 Uber drivers into Kia’s BEV range by the same year. Kia is the latest in Uber’s collection of automakers offering its drivers discounted rates on electric cars. In May, Uber also announced a partnership with EV manufacturer Arrival to create a purpose-built electric car for ride-hail drivers, and in September 2020, Uber partnered with GM to give Canadian and American drivers discounts to the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt.

Recent legislation adopted by the European Union aims to cut carbon emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. Uber’s partnership with Kia anticipates increasingly strict emissions regulations around the continent. To keep up, Uber is also targeting to have more than 100,000 electric vehicles across its European platform by 2025 and 50% of miles driven in Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Lisbon, London, Madrid and Paris to be in zero-emissions vehicles….

My Take: I figured something like this would be coming along once Uber announced their plans for zero emissions in the near future. You can’t simply say all of your drivers will switch to electric vehicles; there has to be incentives.

From the sound of it though, companies still need to work harder to get the cost of manufacturing EVs down so that the average driver can afford an electric vehicle. Even with the offered discounts, it might be too expensive for many to make the switch.

Uber CEO insists drivers are getting ‘higher cut of the fare hike’ amid criticism over price increases (Fox)

Summary: Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi responded to criticism of the company’s recent price hikes.

Khosrowshahi confirmed that customers are likely paying more for Uber rides after months of complaints circulating about unusually high wait times for rides and a surge in cost, but insisted its drivers are getting a higher cut of the fare hike, he tweeted Friday.

“Yes, you are probably paying more for rides, but drivers are getting a HIGHER cut of the fare hike,” Khosrowshahi tweeted.

Hailing a ride has become more and more expensive for consumers in recent months as Uber and competitor Lyft deal with driver shortages stemming from the height of COVID-19. Prices for rides have spiked 40% nationwide, according to data from Rakuten. Cities like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago have been impacted in particular….

My Take: Technically, drivers are likely earning at least a little more right now than they would have under different circumstances. In markets that are struggling to find enough drivers, there are weekly promotions enticing people to hit the road.

It’s hard to say, exactly, if these promotions and bonuses are being paid for by the passengers with higher fares, or if this is being paid for directly by Uber and Lyft and funded by some other means. There are still enough drivers on Reddit complaining about lower rates that it’s hard to believe drivers are getting as much of the fare as Uber’s CEO would have us believe.

In the same vein, The Onion also posted an article this week that I think many of us got a good chuckle out of, titled: Uber Promises They’re Taking Every F*cked-Up Step They Can To Decrease Ride Fees.

The well-known satirical site hit a bit close to home for many of us, and drivers on Reddit commented along these lines:

“This is so painfully accurate it shouldn’t be an Onion article,” commented one person.

Another stated similarly, “I hate it when The Onion is not a joke.”

Lyft launches EV rental pilot program for ride-hail drivers in Northern California (Reuters)

Summary: Lyft Inc (LYFT.O) said on Tuesday it will launch an electric vehicle rental pilot program for ride-hail drivers in a part of the San Francisco Bay Area in partnership with a local utility.

The EV rental program in San Mateo County south of San Francisco is scheduled to begin this fall. It initially aims to provide roughly 100 EVs for use on the Lyft platform, the ride-hail company and Peninsula Clean Energy said in a statement.

Peninsula Clean Energy, San Mateo County’s official energy provider which aims to provide 100% renewable energy by 2025, will provide $500,000 in incentives to ride-hail drivers to ensure the cost of renting an EV is comparable to a gas-powered car.

Lyft said exact rental prices and models were still being determined….

My Take: Here’s another route being taken to encourage EVs versus gas-powered vehicles. I think creating a rental program is a good way to start easing people into the idea of owning electric vehicles.

Granted, we don’t know the prices and models yet, so it’s still difficult to directly compare this avenue versus what Uber is doing in Europe. It could be that the two will go hand-in-hand well and should partner together. Or it could be that one model succeeds while the other flops.

DoorDash Celebrates Pride 2021 (DoorDash Blog)

Summary: Pride Month honors the ability of every person to be their authentic selves. We celebrate the progress that has been made for LGBTQIA+ people, while acknowledging the work that still needs to be done. DoorDash is working to empower the LGBTQIA+ community this month and throughout the year by supporting nonprofits serving LGBTQIA+ people, amplifying LGBTQIA+ voices, and highlighting LGBTQIA+ employee, Dasher, merchant, and community stories.

Our national campaign Every Flavor Welcome invites our community to make room at the table for individuals who don’t have a seat. This year, we’re even creating our own Every Flavor Welcome…Flavor available via DashMart later this month. For every Every Flavor Welcome seasoning sold, we will donate a $25 DoorDash gift card to The Okra Project, up to $25,000, through the Community Credits program. The gift cards will support The Okra Project’s mission to provide free, delicious, and nutritious meals to Black Trans people experiencing food insecurity….

My Take: It feels like their heart is in the right place, but according to comments I found on Reddit, people aren’t liking the whole “every flavor” theme chosen, not to mention the design of the Pride 2021 Hot Bag.

r/doordash_drivers - The doordash pride bag is ugly af, why....why is it green? Like, the colors of the logo don't work with it at all

Here’s a sampling of what people said:

One person quickly commented, “I’m sorry, I’m CACKLING at this. This was such poor decision making, from the color to the rainbow to the term ‘flavor’.”

Another implied it’s disingenuous and stated, “Damn and they even charge you for it. Just pandering on their part at that point.”

Someone else pointed out, “They Obviously did not get input from the gay employees when designing this.”

One Redditor even said, “For a minute I thought it was a Lucky Charms bag…..”

And the last comment on the thread simply said, “When you want to pander…, but you have no idea what a rainbow looks like…”

Uber and Lyft Donated to Community Groups Who Then Pushed the Companies’Agenda (The Markup)

Summary: Over the past several months, news outlets have detailed political action committees set up by Uber and Lyft in New York and Illinois. The Markup found that the practice was even wider spread, occurring in other states and often involving alliances with local community groups.

Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, this kind of lobbying and working with community organizations is nothing new. You usually expect to see community groups partner with companies or individuals who donate a lot of money, act in support of a movement or cause, in exchange for the admirable community group to give the company/individual some good PR.

Do the community groups realize how detrimental these companies are for some, particularly the workers? Do they actually believe what the company is telling them? Or are they simply in it for the money that allows them to continue the work they’re doing? If you talk to everyone involved, everyone has a different reason. But I wish they’d make their connections/funding more explicit so we know why a community group is suddenly in support of a major company.

Finally, note how many of these partnerships are popping up in states that are pursuing something like the PRO Act.

Uber, Lyft prices rise as demand rebounds post-pandemic (Good Morning America)

Summary: As both ride-share companies face an unprecedented driver shortage, prices for the services have seen at least 40% hike nationwide, according to Rakuten.


My Take: First, way to go, Harry! This video has some good points as far as reasons why drivers might not be back on the road yet. However, I’m a little skeptical of the Lyft co-founder’s results. I don’t know how long he was driving under cover, but from everything I’ve heard and seen, delivery tends to be more profitable, but you have to know your area and be choosy about the orders you accept.

Also, it was disheartening to see the Lyft co-founder allowing passengers in the front seat when it’s still recommended on Uber and Lyft to avoid having passengers in the front seat due to lack of distancing. Hard to enforce the rules if a leader of the company doesn’t.

What do you think of this week’s news? Will you be transitioning to an electric vehicle soon? Are you back on the road after a pandemic break?

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-Paula @ RSG