Uber is launching an electric-vehicle program in Portland, and it will be encouraging its drivers to sign up.
The program, which follows a similar effort launched earlier in London, gets started in late May. Through a combination of incentives and educational initiatives, the program aims to increase the amount of EVs driven by Uber contractors in the state of Oregon. The company has about 6,000 drivers in the state right now, and while about 100 already drive EVs, Uber wants to bump that number to around 600, which would be 10 percent. It would like to do so by 2019.
The company is trying to get its current drivers in the Portland area to sign up for the program. Uber hasn’t said if it will offer incentives or rebates to drivers who don’t currently own an EV and would like to buy one, or to drivers who already own EVs. TechCrunch reports that Uber’s in-house car-leasing arm, Xchange Leasing, could be used to offer leases on EVs.
Oregon was chosen for the program in part because the state just passed legislation that will encourage improvement of both utilities and infrastructure to support growth in EVs. As part of the program, Uber is working with Drive Oregon, a nonprofit that has a mission to get more EVs on the state’s roads. Drive Oregon will work with Uber drivers to teach them how to extoll the benefits of EVs to their riders.
Uber will also work with the Black Parents Initiative to try to inspire minority Uber drivers to become EV Ambassadors.
Uber drivers who use an electric vehicle for their ride-sharing gig will also get the chance to make extra money via Uber’s EV Ambassador program.
“The City of Portland has also adopted some of the nation’s most aggressive measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Uber said in a statement. “Uber Electric will help Portland and the state of Oregon achieve these important clean energy goals.”