Efforts to reduce transportation emissions through electrification can accelerate their impact by focusing on intensively used vehicles. Vehicles driven on ride-hailing platforms such as Uber and Lyft are intensively used, and their distinct charging patterns can support the development of essential electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure.

However, vehicles used for ride-hailing are often missed by actions to electrify other intensively used vehicles, and an array of disparately available financial incentives, EV models, and charging options produce a complicated landscape where it is often unclear whether an EV costs more or less than an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle or is suitable for ride-hailing. As a result, in U.S., European, and Canadian cities, the share of EVs among vehicles used for ride-hailing is often lower than or similar to the share of EVs in the overall vehicle stock.

This paper identifies the largest barriers that prevent ride-hailing drivers from accessing EVs and analyzes ways that governments, industry and other stakeholders can tackle those barriers. It includes city scorecards that evaluate 10 U.S., European and Canadian cities on their progress towards dismantling these barriers, using an original methodology and data from Uber.

National and subnational governments, ride-hailing companies, utilities, and charging station operators all have roles to play in making EVs more cost competitive and expanding access to affordable, convenient charging, especially for low-income communities. It will be essential to:

  1. Reduce high up-front costs and increase access to affordable financing, with a focus on equity and high-mileage use cases
  2. Make EV charging more affordable and convenient through overnight solutions in underserved areas and urban fast-charging
  3. Educate drivers on EV ownership and benefits

Top-priority actions include improving the targeting of EV purchase subsidies, installing more 350 kilowatt chargers and overnight charging facilities for renters or residents of multiunit buildings, revising pricing structures for EV fast charging, and tailoring ride-hailing apps to support drivers with EVs.