Uber Technologies Inc. has launched its partnership with public fast charging network EVgo to provide discounted electric vehicle charging rates for some of its drivers.
The ride-hailing giant and EVgo said Thursday that the discount program — announced in September — is now available for Uber Pro drivers.
Uber Pro drivers are those who earn points with Uber based on consistently high driver ratings and low cancellation rates, and they are eligible for the company's recognition and rewards program. The discounted EVgo rates depend on the region in which the drivers charge and their Uber Pro status.
Uber Pro Gold, Platinum and Diamond drivers — tiers each with an increasing number of rewards points — receive up to a 25 percent discount from standard EVgo charging rates.
Uber Pro Blue drivers — those who have the fewest Uber Pro rewards — receive up to a 15 percent discount from standard rates.
No Uber Pro drivers pay monthly fees for charging, and the partnership provides expanded charging session time limits.
The companies said in a statement they hope to "encourage mass adoption of electric vehicles" and "work to accelerate the adoption of zero-emission transportation" with the partnership.
The launch comes after Uber's pledge in September that 100 percent of its rides in the U.S., Canada and Europe will be in EVs by 2030. The company plans to become fully zero-emission throughout the rest of the globe by 2040.
"We believe we can achieve this 2030 goal in any major city where we can work with local stakeholders to implement policies that ensure a fair transition to EVs for drivers," Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a blog in September.
As part of its commitment, Uber expanded its Uber Green program, which allows riders to choose a shared electric or hybrid ride.
Uber rival Lyft has also pledged to shift its fleet and reach 100 percent EVs by 2030.
"At the end of the day, meeting our commitment is on us, not on drivers," Lyft said in a blog post in June. "By working with policymakers and partners, and harnessing the power of the driver community, we can drive down the cost of EVs, expand EV incentives and infrastructure, and help drivers switch to electric over time in a way that is cost-effective, sustainable and profitable."
EVgo, which touts itself as the nation's largest public fast charging network, with more than 800 locations in more than 600 cities across 34 states, has made other headlines this year. In July, the company announced a partnership with General Motors to triple the size of its charging network in the next five years. The partnership aims to add more than 2,700 fast chargers to cities and suburbs, beginning in 2021.
Work to be done
EVgo and other charging station providers know the nationwide charging network has a lot of catching up to do. Not only is consumer adoption of EVs in the U.S. largely contingent on having a robust and reliable charging network, it's also important for those doing highway driving as well as those in multifamily housing without a garage or an outlet.
Uber and EVgo said in the statement: "As drivers look for affordable ways to transition to EVs, many — such as those who rent — will face limited at-home charging options and won't be able to start each day on a full charge.
"More charging for rideshare drivers means more impact."