We’ve been talking to London based driver, John. He’s been telling us about his journey to Uber and how driving a Tesla has been a game changer.
Hey John, nice to meet you. How long have you been driving with Uber?
From July 2016.
What inspired you to start doing it?
I was working on the motorway for ten years. I was breathing in all of the toxic fumes, day in day out. I’ve got asthma now, it’s something that’s developed since I’ve been doing that job. So I decided I was going to do something different, do something green. And that’s why I bought the car and I went with Tesla.
What made you go with Uber and a Tesla?
With Uber I can choose my own hours, it’s quite nice as I’m not that far away from retiring now. I can choose when I want to work, I just go out early in the morning and come back home after the rush hour and go and play golf with my friends, then go out again in the evening.
Did you have any reservations about driving electric?
I think the main reservation other people have if they haven’t driven EVs before is range anxiety. And the secret is to get a car that has a good range, they’re more expensive but you have to look at it. The range on the Tesla is between 270 and 300.
‘Range anxiety’, what is that?
It’s when you’re worried that you haven’t got enough power in your car to see you through your shift. It’s probably the number one priority when a driver is looking at EVs. However, after a month, range anxiety is on the back-burner.
What are your charging habits?
I always charge in my car at home overnight. I use the nighttime tariff, it costs less than 2 pence a mile.
Does that mean you don’t charge during the day?
I don’t need to charge during the day. But for comfort’s sake if I haven’t got a passenger and I’m passing a rapid charger, then I’ll take the opportunity for a rapid charge.
How long does the rapid charge take?
Compared to how it charges at home, it’s probably about eight times faster. So I might just sit down for 20 minutes, just to put back in what I’ve used during rush hour in the morning.
How do you find charge points?
You get to learn where your rapid chargers are very quickly. You have mental notes, ‘I know there’s one about a mile away’. There’s also lots of apps you can get on your phone that let you know where the chargers are.
How do riders react when you pull up in a Tesla?
Most people you see on the sidewalk, and they look like they’re thinking ‘have I ordered an executive car when I only wanted an UberX?’. I have to say, ‘relax you’re only being charged UberX’. They absolutely love it.
Quality of the experience for riders seems to be high on your agenda.
Obviously! I’ve got a very good rating, it’s very difficult not to give me a high rating when you get a lovely car. I like to make it the best experience they’ve got.
Performance wise, what’s your EV like?
Really good. In an urban environment, you’re not going to get quite as many miles as you would up and down a motorway. But having said that, I have got enough miles in my battery to last the day and that’s the important thing. Because there’s no internal combustion engine, the maintenance costs just don’t exist. You just need to check your tyres and suspension frequently.
What do you think would surprise people who’re driving an EV for the first time?
How quiet it is, how smooth the ride is and especially how cheap it is to run. A new person wanting to go EV might be frightened by the purchase price but you have to look at the overall cost of ownership. In my case, I will own the car at the end of the finance period. The cost of the finance is less than the money I’m saving by putting petrol or diesel into my car.
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