The first of three new electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in British Columbia opened in locations with high rideshare utilization this week, thanks to a collaboration between Uber and Shell Recharge Solutions.
As a pilot project for the first six months, the charging stations will be available exclusively to drivers on the Uber platform at a discount. The idea is to encourage adoption and provide a more convenient solution than at-home charging. The longer-term goal of this pilot project is to apply learnings in the creation of similar programs to increase EV adoption in other cities where ridesharing operates in North America.
The Greater Vancouver Region has the highest percentage of low-emission vehicles on Uber across all Canadian markets, but access to on-the-road charging options remains a key barrier, says Uber and Shell.
The first new EV charging station is located at Metropolis at Metrotown Mall – 4750 Kingsway, Burnaby, Lot 218. Two more charging stations are expected to be available later this year, and the locations will be announced in the coming months.
This pilot project will have a total of six charging ports. Each site will feature 120kW fast-charging stations that are faster than most on-the-road chargers and has charge ports for two EVs.
“As the largest mobility platform in the world, we know the impact we have goes beyond technology,” says Michael van Hemmen, Uber’s General Manager for Canada Mobility. “We have a responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint, and we have an ambitious goal of becoming a zero-emissions platform by 2040 globally.
“Vancouver far outperforms other cities in North America in terms of EV drivers on Uber,” he continues, “but we know how difficult finding an on-the-road charging station can be. This project is going to have a big impact for existing EV drivers as well as encouraging drivers to make the switch.”
“Reducing emissions from our transport sector is a critical part of our efforts to fight climate change,” adds The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources of Canada. “I want to applaud Uber and Shell Recharge Solutions for investing in EV infrastructure, helping to make it easier than ever for Canadians to make the switch to an electric vehicle with confidence.”
Shell Recharge Solutions provides turnkey solutions scaled to the specific electrification requirements of light, medium and heavy-duty fleets. Support included site acquisition, system design and installation, and site operation tools.
“We are excited to support Uber’s mission to be net-zero by 2040, and we are looking forward to seeing the impact these charging stations have in the area and potentially other cities in North America,” comments Andreas Lips, CEO at Shell Recharge Solutions North America.
John Laires, CEO of Indigo Park Canada who operates the parking facilities at Concord Metrotown, adds that “Indigo is thrilled to be the site host for these charging stations. Indigo shares Canada’s overall sustainability goals, and we strive to bring access to charging stations on our parking facilities for EV drivers, especially high-mileage drivers like those who use Uber. As an owner and operator of parking facilities, our goal is to make EV charging more accessible, as we are focused on actively contributing to their deployment all over Canada. That’s why Indigo is proud to be part of this pilot project.”
Uber Canada is aiming to become a zero-emission platform in major cities in Canada by 2030. Last month, Uber expanded its partnership with Hertz to Canada so rideshare drivers who use the Uber platform can now sign up to rent Teslas on a weekly basis from Hertz in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. Earlier this year, Uber Canada announced partnerships with Wallbox and FLO to offer discounts on home-charging solutions.
Uber Canada also announced a partnership with Plug’n Drive to provide drivers the opportunity to learn about the total cost of owning an EV and the benefits of making the switch from gas to electric. General Motors is giving discounts to rideshare drivers on the Chevrolet Bolt EV.
Drivers of fully electric vehicles are eligible for Uber’s Zero Emissions incentive, which lets them earn an extra $1 on every trip with Uber up to $4,000 until December 31, 2022. Last fall, Uber announced Uber+Transit as a pilot in the Greater Toronto Area. By looking at transit schedules and UberX availability, Uber will suggest a combined route that’s convenient and affordable.