New York wants more electric Ubers. Everyone is crazy

Incentivizing Uber and Lyft drivers to go green “lays the groundwork for increased use of charging stations,” says David Do, the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commissioner. Attract more people to electric vehicles and more chargers will be built to accommodate them. “It’s the chicken and egg problem: if we don’t have infrastructure, there will never be additional electric vehicles. They must grow almost simultaneously.

Building more charging stations in New York is challenging and expensive for everyone. “Real estate is really expensive,” says Scott Fisher, executive vice president of charging company Voltera, which doesn’t yet have any stations in the city. “Any time you look at integrating charging on a property, you’re tying the cost of that real estate to the price you charge drivers. »

Infrastructure already in place is underutilized, says charging and ride-sharing company Revel, which operates electric service in the city and hosts three large charging stations in Brooklyn and Queens. More than 90 percent of the drivers who fill up are Revel’s own employees, says company spokesperson Robert Familiar, meaning that members of the public, including Uber and Lyft drivers, don’t hardly use the stations.

Driver’s hopes, driver’s panic

The New York City Taxi Worker Alliance, a union that represents some 17,500 Uber and Lyft drivers in New York, is focused less on big electrification goals than on the current conditions of its drivers. He fears that unlimited licenses for electric vehicle drivers will drive down prices and cause more drivers to rush to get around. “Having an unlimited number of vehicles would be an economic disaster waiting to happen,” alliance chairman Bhairavi Desai told reporters at a news conference earlier this month. “And the kind of disaster that, as history has already shown, would drive drivers into very dangerous despair.”

Before the program abruptly ended last week, current and prospective drivers took to Facebook and WhatsApp groups to search for new electrical devices and electrical leases. Some brokerages were crowded, hoping to finalize the application and necessary insurance documents before the court-set deadline.

Desai said she was particularly concerned that predatory leasing companies could seize the new licenses available for electric vehicles and trap people interested in driving those cars into costly leasing relationships. The TLC says the vast majority of new requests come from individual drivers rather than companies, and Do, the commissioner, urged drivers to think twice before buying or leasing an electric vehicle. “We’re just opening more doors for drivers,” he says.

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