The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track planetary extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials)😉.
Main Topic: More Incentives For Uber And Lyft To Go All Electric
Dear Diary. Happy May everyone. I was doing some research for today’s subject thinking that the following question has already been thought of, but did not see an answer: Within Biden’s American Jobs Plan has money been allocated to help Uber and Lyft transform their fleet of independently contracted cars towards becoming all electric? I certainly hope so.
What a difference one decade made. During the 2000s nearly all hired short trip rides were made through taxi services. Uber then Lyft totally transformed that service industry during the 2010s for better or worse. Now those two companies would like to have their fleet of vehicles be totally electric to help the environment, which I totally applaud. Since Uber and Lyft don’t own their vehicles, this would take quite the financial incentive for any big transformation. I doubt that these companies would be willing to buy fleets of electric vehicles then lease them out to employees, but that’s one idea. Another would be to attract people who own all electrics with big cash incentives to become employees, and/or pay them at higher rates than those who own ICE vehicles.
Here is an article communicating what Uber and Lyft can do to attain their (and our) electric wishes:
EDITORS’ PICK |Sep 14, 2020,08:00am EDT|1,407 views
Uber And Lyft Plan Being All-Electric. Lots Has To Change
An electric Uber cruises in KievGETTY IMAGES
Last week, Uber UBER -0.3% followed up Lyft LYFT -2.5% by announcing that all Uber rides by 2030 would be electric. It’s a lofty goal, and they are pledging resources to it, including giving drivers $1.50 extra per ride (riders pay $1 for an Uber Green) and providing funds to help people convert. They say they will commit “$800M of resources” by 2025.
The problem of course, is that Uber doesn’t own the cars in its fleet. It has to convince Uber driver/owners to switch to electric cars. In my earlier article, “Why isn’t your Uber electric?” I outlined some of the barriers to this. After all, electric cars are much cheaper to operate — cheaper energy, lower maintenance — than gasoline cars, so people driving all day get an obvious financial win by driving the lowest operating cost cars around, even though the cars today are expensive. Here are some of the problems and what Uber might be able to do about them.
One of the dark secrets of Uber/Lyft is that many drivers are not fully savvy on the math of operating their car. They may make about $1.50/mile they drive, but some of them only look at the raw operating cost — gasoline — and figure they are getting good pay for their time. The problem is that fuel can be just a quarter or even less of the cost of running a car. They might figure, “sure the car is depreciating and maybe I have to take it in for service more often” but they don’t see those costs while they drive. It’s a win for Uber to have drivers think they are better paid than they are. It’s also partly true, in that some of the depreciation is just by the year, and the owner/driver is already taking that upon themselves even if they don’t drive.
All of this goes away if the driver has to rent or lease a car just for gig-driving. Then they get a monthly bill for the car that includes everything and will compare it to what they made and how many hours they worked (or sat idle waiting for rides.) As many studies have pointed out, that’s not so nice a number, though it’s still a job.
That makes it challenging if Uber hopes to get around the barriers to entry that come from having to get a new electric car by renting cars to drivers. They won’t see it as a win, even if it is one.MORE FOR YOUUniversal Health Services Will Meet Tomorrow’s Healthcare NeedsTo Uber Or Lyft?Lyft Is Quickly Growing Its Presence In Healthcare
New, expensive cars
One of the biggest problems today, which goes away in time, is that electric cars today have expensive purchase prices, and the long range cars are all new — ie. not available cheap in the 5-year-old used market. Even though the operating costs justify this higher purchase price, for lower income people this is a classic problem — they can’t always afford to pay extra now to save money in the future. Uber can fix that with financing plans and other incentives. In addition, by 2025, we should see new electric cars that compete with gasoline on initial purchase price.
The related problem is that EVs are new. Your Uber is rarely a new car. In fact, the smart thing to do is have a richer person eat the first four years of depreciation on a car, then buy it used for the sweet spot of 4-10 years of age. (After that, repair costs can start to climb, though maybe not on electrics.) Uber could help by creating a used market in sweet-spot EVs just for electrics. By 2025, there will be lots of 5 year old Teslas and tons more by 2030.
Unfortunately, EV buying comes with some risk. It’s a rapidly changing technology. The hot EV of 2021 may be viewed as obsolete in 2025. Still perfectly serviceable but greatly diminished in value compared to the hot new models that, unlike gasoline cars, are radically different from their 5 year old cousins. That’s good for buying on the used market, but makes purchase of a new one come with a risk that only higher income people can take.
As I outlined earlier, many Uber drivers commute into cities from quite some distance away. That’s not a great option in an EV, even if you do have charging at your distant home. You arrive for work with a low battery.
No charging at home
Sometimes there is EV charging on the street, but it’s rare, and what if you don’t get it one night?GETTY
One huge barrier to EVs is that ride-hail drivers, again in the lower strata of income, often don’t own a parking space where they can have home charging. Home charging is essential to cheap operation of an EV. If you charge only at pubic high speed charging stations, you pay 3 to 4 times as much — more than the cost of gasoline in the Prius which is one of the most popular cars for ride-hail. Today, a cost conscious EV drive needs charging at home or the office. The other big advantage of home charging is it happens while you sleep — in other words, it takes zero time from your day. If you have to charge while on the go, you have 30-60 minutes of downtime. It’s true that everybody needs a break, so they can handle that, but not the price of expensive daytime electricity at a high-cost fast charging station. Even drivers who can charge at home may need a recharge mid-day if they are doing lots of highway rides.
What needs to change? More charging stations for people who don’t own homes or parking space, located in the apartment blocks they live in. Lower cost fast charging stations, subsidized by ride-hail companies for those top-ups and breaks. Uber could put money into that. In addition, if things go as many expect, by 2030 there may be so much solar power in some places that daytime electricity becomes cheap rather than expensive. (Electricity from 5pm to 9pm will still be very expensive but cars can avoid charging then.)
The sweet time to charge will be 9:30am to 11:30am — lots of solar, low power demand on the grid and low ride demand, with a similar period from 1:30 to 3. But that’s a pretty short window. Fast charging stations need to operate on a more balanced schedule. Nobody wants to charge at peak ride demand times like rush hours and lunch rush.
Extra fee for EV ride
It will be interesting to see how many people elect to pay the $1 extra for a Green Uber. I suspect it might be common on long rides, less common on short $7 rides. While EVs are quieter, they are not that different for passengers, so this is more of a feel-good fee. (They are much more fun to drive, which can actually be distressing to the passenger.) Having a per-ride incentive is backwards. The EV costs much less to operate, that’s the per-ride incentive to the driver. It’s the purchase and above logistics where the barriers lie.
Of course, by 2030, many companies — including Uber — have plans to have wide deployment of robotaxi fleets. The lower total cost of electric is a win here which needs no incentives. Fleet operators care about only total cost. While robocars can be built on gasoline powertrains, most expect they won’t be by this point. This replaces the current model of owner/driver, of course. Fleet vehicles will recharge themselves at fleet stations, probably with some automatic plug-in or failing that, plug jockeys.
The robotaxi price won’t start out super cheap, but it should be heading there by 2030 once there is competition in a city between two large robotaxi providers. Only a few cities will have that in 2030, however.
When it comes to the robotaxis, it will be much easier to keep the promise to go electric.
What if you are already fortunate enough to own an EV and want to earn cash through either Uber or Lyft? This web site and particular article is just for you or anyone else who might want to get into the modern rideshare game:
The 5 Best Electric Vehicles for Uber and Lyft Drivers [2021 Review]
What if we told you that you could give yourself a $3-per-hour raise right now? Well you can…if you switch to an electric vehicle (EV) for your gig work, be it delivery driving or rideshare. The amount you save using electricity instead of gas really can boost your earnings by that much! EV champion and RSG contributor Gabe Ets-Hokin shares what the best electric vehicles for Uber and Lyft drivers are below.
EVs: 10 or even five years ago, it would be a tough sell to get me to try to use one for rideshare work. That’s because making a living wage in this industry requires a variety of careful strategies, and driving an overpriced vehicle with a limited range and long recharging times isn’t one of them.
Times have changed, and we have more choices in this space. If you’ve done the research and think an EV – or plug-in hybrid-electric (PHEV) – is a good match for your driving strategies and lifestyle, read on: I’ve got some choices for you.
If you’re not ready to buy a rideshare vehicle yet, check out our list of recommended rental options for drivers here.
Learn about what it’s like driving an electric vehicle for Uber here.
The Best Electric Vehicles for Uber and Lyft Drivers
Best Cheapskate Option: Ford CMax or Fusion Energi
Price: $8,000-$30,000 EV Range: 20 miles
Okay, it’s not really an electric vehicle, but it allows some of the benefits of the EV. Ford’s “Energi” models pair a 7.6 kWh, air-cooled battery and 47-hp electric motor with a 141-hp Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine for a peppy total of 188 system horsepower. If you drive it carefully, you can tool around in slow-speed city traffic in EV mode for up to two hours doing short trips, and then take a break for an hour and charge at a level-two charger and repeat. Or you can keep driving in hybrid mode and get about 38 mpg.
These cars are refined, quiet and fun to drive. The Fusion has more trunk space than the C-Max, but my opinion (I owned a C-Max for three years) is that the weird-looking hatchback is more fun to drive and wows passengers with its ample headroom. Both cars are reliable, nicely equipped, appointed and pretty reasonable to buy used; if you can, buy a used car still under factory warranty so you can buy an extended warranty.
Best XL Option: Pacifica PHEV
Price: $28,000-$40,000 EV Range: 30-plus miles
If you want to drive XL and not burn gas, you can buy a Tesla Model X and then sob with frustration after you realize your car and insurance payment soak up half your income. Or you could pick up a used Chrysler Pacifica PHEV for under $30,000.
That’s because it’s spacious for 7 people, gets great fuel economy – over 80 mpg if you keep it charged and just drive short trips – and is packed with luxury, infotainment and safety features. You can also drive it 30 miles on battery alone. When the electrons run dry, the big gas tank allows another 550 miles of hybrid-mode range at about 33 mpg.
Like most Chrysler-Fiat products, build quality and reliability is below average, so get an extended warranty. Buying new may be surprisingly affordable, thanks to a $7,500 federal tax credit, state incentives and factory/dealer discounting.
The other car I considered for this category was Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV, but it got beat by the Chrysler for a few reasons. Even though it’ll go up to 22 miles on battery power, after that it returns just 25 mpg, only 3 mpg better than a standard Outlander. And though it technically fits seven people, those people are either small, or will wish they were small.
Best Cheapskate All-Electric Option: Nissan Leaf
Price: $3,800-$15,000 EV Range: 80-140 miles
If your Uber/Lyft style is lots of short trips (or you mainly do delivery) and you usually take a break during the day, you may have some success with a used Nissan Leaf. The Leaf is the most prolific EV in North America, with 133,000 sold here since 2011. That means there are a lot of them on the used market: I saw over 1,000 results on a recent Autotrader.com search. You can get a low-mile 2011 for $3,800, but beware: the air-cooled, 20-kWh battery is known to have serious degradation issues, cutting the rated 80-ish mile range to less than 50.
The way to go would be to find a clean, low-mile 2016 or newer model, with the 30 kWh battery. It’s a more-durable design and offers 110 miles of range. You can find these for under $10,000, or splurge and get a 2017 or newer with the 40 kWh pack and 140 miles of range. That should last six or more hours in city driving, and the car’s CHAdeMO fast-charger should get you back on the road with an 80-percent charge after 40-60 minutes.
Not interested in buying just quite yet? Drivers in select areas can rent a Chevy Bolt EV through Maven. At $374 a week it may not be as cost-efficient as owning, but it includes charging and will give you a taste of the EV-owner’s lifestyle.
Best Option for the Brave DIY-er: Tesla Model S 60
Price: $28,000-$40,000 EV Range: 150-200 miles
Do you know what all the settings on a Voltmeter are for? Can you explain the difference between Amps and Watts? Does your homeowner’s insurance cover (unlikely but possible) garage fires? Good with a wrench? A used Tesla Model S may be for you.
The Tesla Model S is a ground-breaking vehicle, the first mass-produced long-range EV. It’s also considered a luxury vehicle for purposes of Uber Select or Lyft Lux, and may even be eligible for Uber Black. Look around, and you might find one for under $30,000.
It’ll likely have six figures on the odometer, and will need to have some issues sorted, but fear not: these cars were built to last a lifetime and some are exceeding a half-million miles. You’ll enjoy a huge network of fast-charge stations and you’ll impress your passengers, most of whom will have never ridden in a Tesla before.
You’ll also enjoy 150-200 miles of range (you can fast charge to 80 percent in about 45 minutes) as well as handling and acceleration on par with $80,000 European-built luxury sedans. It may not be the most economical or practical decision, but you will be driving a special and memorable car.
Best EV: Chevy Bolt EV
Price: $28,000-$40,000 EV Range: 238-259 miles
If you’ve read some of my previous articles, you’ll know I’m a fan of my Bolt EV. I’m not a fan of how cheap these cars have gotten, as I bought mine new. Had I waited a year for the 2017s to come of their leases, I would have saved a lot of money. I’m seeing them with fewer than 40,000 miles on Autotrader for under $19,000, but additionally GM is offering $6,500 in cash back on a new one! Combined with the federal tax credit (still $1,875 through the end of 2019) and state and local incentives as well as dealer discounts, you could steal a new Premier model for a net cost of under $25,000.
You’ll get an extremely practical and economical Uber/Lyft vehicle that is fun to drive and very pleasing to passengers. You’ll also probably never need to fix or even maintain anything except your tires; can your Camry do that? Still, get an extended warranty if you can, because they’re cheap and who knows?
It’s not all roses and lollipops with the Bolt. It has a small trunk, a medieval torture device for a driver’s seat, is speed limited to 91 mph and the fast-charger is just 50 kWh, which means it takes over an hour to juice up to an 80 percent charge. Still, even after 20 months and 50,000 miles on the road, I’m still surprised how much I like my Bolt and how efficient and enjoyable it’s been. Happy driving!
If you’re not ready to buy a rideshare vehicle yet, check out our list of recommended rental options for drivers here.
Drivers, would you get an EV to drive for Uber or Lyft? Why or why not?
Here is some April 2021 climatology:
Here is more climate and weather news from Saturday:
(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)
Now here are some of today’s articles and notes on the horrid COVID-19 pandemic:
(If you like these posts and my work please contribute via the PayPal widget, which has recently been added to this site. Thanks in advance for any support.)
Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”