To mark World Electric Vehicle Day (Sept 9), Uber Australia has released a new report outlining the key barriers to rideshare drivers making the switch to electric vehicles, and the policy changes needed to overcome them. 

In Australia, the transport sector is the nation’s second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Around seven in ten Australians travel to work by car and our vehicles remain among the most emissions-intensive in the world. On top of that, Australia has the 3rd highest rate of vehicle ownership among OECD nations. The electrification of transport is critical to reducing emissions. 

At Uber, we believe we can have an outsized impact in accelerating the transition to zero emission transport. That’s because when rideshare drivers switch to electric vehicles, they realise three to four times greater emissions savings compared to average car owners – because rideshare drivers use their vehicles more frequently. 

Uber’s platform can also play a role in improving consumer awareness and understanding of electric vehicle technology to empower our customers to ‘go green’ in the future. One electric vehicle on the Uber platform can help 100 riders a month on average get from A to B. Drivers with electric vehicles tell us that riders often ask them questions about vehicle performance and range anxiety. At the end of those trips their passengers leave with a greater understanding of, and appreciation for, electric vehicle technology. 

Uber Australia has implemented changes to accelerate the shift to greener transport – for example until June 30 next year all drivers of battery electric vehicles on the Uber platform will pay half the service rate they otherwise would, meaning they earn more on each trip. But there needs to be wider change if we’re to see the benefits of electric rideshare at scale, across Australia.

Read the full Electrifying Rideshare: Increasing E-Shared trips in Australia report here

Below is a summary of key recommendations in Uber’s Electrifying Rideshare report:

Recommendation 1: Close the interim cost gap between Internal Combustion Engine vehicles and EVs, especially among high km drivers. Policy options include:

  • Provide upfront point of sale incentives for EV purchases, including second-hand vehicles
  • Waive or reduce other fees and taxes such as stamp duty and registration
  • Give EVs urban access advantages such as access to high occupancy lanes

Recommendation 2: Ensure all high-km drivers can reliably access overnight charging at or near their home, where they would normally park. Policy options include:

  • Support the rollout of at home charging infrastructure as well as suburban ‘near home’ public charging with kerbside ‘right to charge’ policies
  • Introduce EV-ready building codes and laws to make it easier for renters and people in multi-unit dwellings to install at home chargers
  • Continue to support the roll out of rapid, affordable public charging networks in metropolitan areas, ensuring equitable distribution across cities

Recommendation 3: Delay EV only road user charges and policies which widen the interim cost gap, particularly for  high km drivers. Policy options include:

  • Delay EV-only road user charges while uptake is in its infancy
  • Cap or exempt commercial EV drivers, either in perpetuity or for ~5-10 years
  • Move away from fuel tax and toward a road user charging scheme for all cars

Recommendation 4: Stimulate the market through standards and targets to ensure drivers can access long range BEVs at a reasonable price. Policy options include:

  • Introduce fuel efficiency standards, which would also help lower the cost of fuel for all Australians
  • Introduce zero-emission vehicle sales targets and mandates on vehicle manufacturers/distributors to increase supply
  • Stimulate demand through point of sale incentives and removal of taxes targeted at affordable and second-hand models