Uber: Drivers like the Teslas

Uber’s strategy to electrify its driver fleet by 2030 appears to be off to a good start. The ride-hailing company reported today that over 15,000 Uber drivers have signed on to rent Tesla cars through its partnership with car rental company Hertz.

Uber argues the deal is its “largest-ever expansion” of EVs on a mobility forum in North America and that more than 5M Tesla rides have driven over 40 million miles since the schedule began last year.

The popularity and market for electric vehicles are at an all-time high for consumers, especially with the high cost of gas. The same is true for Uber drivers, who are accountable for the costs associated with refueling the vehicles no matter what it runs on. “The program is a win for drivers, who are expressing pride in being part of the climate solution and welcome improved earnings through gas savings, electric vehicle incentives, and tips,” said Andrew Macdonald, Uber SVP of mobility and business ops in a statement.

The ride-hailing company reported over 15,000 drivers signed up to rent Teslas through its partnership with Hertz. Uber’s assessment of their drivers’ all-electric experience was glowingly positive. “It handles the mileage well,” said one driver. Uber argues that 95 percent of drivers renting Teslas via Hertz have not driven an EV on the platform before, and 92% of them are now contemplating their next vehicle buy to be an EV.

News of Hertz’s initial purchase of 100,000 Tesla vehicles late last year sparked a lot of attention, helped by an extensive ad campaign starring Tom Brady. The deal also pushed Tesla to become a trillion-dollar company. Hertz announced a sizable 65,000-unit order of Polestar 2 vehicles in April, which should be for a rental by the end of the year.

Uber drivers interested in renting a Tesla must have completed at least 150 trips and maintain a 4.85-star rating to be eligible. It costs about $300 a week to rent the Tesla, and drivers receive an extra dollar per trip (max $4,000 a year) and are enrolled in the company’s newer “Uber Green” ride-hailing category.

It’s not available everywhere yet but qualified.

Uber Technologies, Inc. is American mobility as a service provider. It is based in San Francisco, operating in approximately 72 countries and 10,500 cities. Its benefits include ride-hailing, food delivery (Uber Eats and Postmates), package delivery, couriers, electric bicycle, freight transportation, motorized scooter rental via a partnership with Lime, and ferry transport in collaboration with local operators. Uber does not hold any vehicles; instead, it accepts a commission from each booking. Fares are mentioned to the customer in advance but converted using a dynamic pricing model based on the local supply and need at the time of the booking.

Uber offers many additional types of ride options. UberX is the most widespread and the standard service of the firm. Uber Comfort, UberXL, and Uber Black are other possibilities the company offers. UberXLs are usually SUV-sided vehicles and can accommodate up to 6 people. Uber’s premium service is Uber Black. Uber Black drivers must be highly rated and drive more luxurious vehicles than UberX and UberXL. Uber Comfort ensures a unique car with more leg room. The different types of options give customers more flexibility when selecting a ride.

In the fourth semester of 2021, Uber had 118M monthly active users globally and generated an average of 19 million daily trips. In the US, as of January 2022, Uber had a 71% market share for ride-sharing and a 27% market stake for food delivery. Uber has been so evident in the sharing economy that the commoditization of service industries using computing outlets has been referred to as uberisation. Several startups have expressed their offerings as “Uber for X.” Uber has posted hundreds of millions or billions of dollars in losses every year since 2014 except for 2018, when it escaped the markets in China, Russia, and Southeast Asia about stakes in rival firms.

Like similar organizations, Uber has been criticized for treating its drivers as gig workers and independent contractors, disrupting taxicab businesses, and increasing traffic congestion. In addition, the company has been charged with unethical practices and ignoring local regulations. As a result, the legality of Uber has been questioned and subsequently banned in multiple countries.

In 2009, Uber was launched as Ubercab by Garrett Camp, the co-founder of StumbleUpon, with Travis Kalanick, who traded his Red Swoosh startup for $19 million in 2007.

After Camp and his friends expended $800 on hiring a private driver, he wanted to find a way to lower the cost of direct transportation. He discovered that sharing the cost with people could make it reasonable, and his idea morphed into Uber. Kalanick entered Camp and gave him “full credit for the idea” of Uber. The prototype was created by Camp and his friends, Kalanick as the “mega advisor” to the company with Conrad Whelan.

In February 2010, Ryan Graves evolved the first Uber employee, receiving the job by reacting to a post on Twitter. Graves started as general manager and was named CEO momentarily after the launch. In December 2010, Kalanick followed Graves as CEO. Graves became a chief operating officer (COO). By 2019, Graves owned 31.9M shares.

Following a beta takeoff in May 2010, Uber’s services and mobile app were founded publicly in San Francisco in 2011. Initially, the application only allowed users to praise a black luxury car, and the price was 1.5 times that of a taxi. In 2011, the company switched its name from UberCab to Uber after complaints from San Francisco taxicab operators.

The company’s early hires contained a nuclear physicist, a computational neuroscientist, and a machinery professional who worked on forecasting demand for private car drivers. In April 2012, Uber launched a Chicago service whereby users could ask a regular taxi or an Uber driver via its mobile app.

In July 2012, the company introduced UberX. This cheaper option allowed drivers to use non-luxury vehicles, including their cars, subject to a background check, registration,  insurance, and vehicle standards. By early 2013, the service was operating in 35 towns.

In December 2013, USA Today called Uber its tech company of the year.