Why Uber Is Paying Drivers More to Go Electric

June 20, 2018, 10:36 PM UTC

Uber is testing a new program that provides its drivers with extra cash incentives to switch to electric-powered cars.

The company announced the year-long pilot program, called EV Champions Initiative, on Tuesday. It will take place in seven cities (Austin, Los Angeles, Montreal, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle) and involve an expected 5 million rides over 12 months.

The financial incentives will vary from city to city while the company tests the impact of the different benefits. Drivers in Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and San Diego can expect to receive $1 extra per ride after switching to an electric vehicle, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In addition to providing drivers with pay raises, Uber will also add features to its app specifically designed for drives who use electric vehicles. The company has also partnered with researchers at University of California at Davis to test how Uber and cities can promote the widespread use of electric cars.

“At Uber, we’re committed to facilitating reliable transportation for everyone, everywhere and making our cities more efficient and less reliant on personal car ownership,” the ride-hailing giant said in a statement.

This is not the first time Uber has tried to become more environmentally efficient. In April, the company expanded beyond its ride-hailing roots by adding a new electric bike sharing service as well as a way for its users to book transit tickets through a mobile ticketing platform.

“Unless we can be delivering a more efficient form of mobility, we won’t be providing a good solution that cities need,” Adam Groomis, Uber’s head of sustainability, told the Los Angeles Times. “That’s why we’ve gone into bikes. That’s why we’re working with transit. That’s why we’re focused on electrification.”