New charging network encourages Uber and Lyft drivers to go electric
A new dedicated charging network from the company EVgo hopes to reduce charging stress for ride-hailing and gig economy drivers in rented electric vehicles.
General Motors’ Maven car-share service rents electric Bolts to drivers on apps like Uber and Lyft. Drivers using the Maven service will get access to the new charging network — it’s just for drivers on the program. The rest of the EV driving public can’t use these stations.
EVgo, a nationwide charging network with 1,000 fast chargers across the country, is building out fast charging stations where Maven, a service that rents out cars from its fleet of GM vehicles, is already active. The dedicated charging stations will first open in San Francisco later this year and then expand into other cities, like Boston, Los Angeles, and San Diego with a couple hundred stations sprinkled throughout those areas.
Ride-hailing often means driving a lot — like 50,000 miles a year a lot. The average American drives about 13,000 miles in that same time period. That’s why many drivers are looking into electric vehicles (EVs) as a fuel-free option with less maintenance. But then stress about charging and having enough battery comes into play, especially when each day is filled with unpredictable trips.
For Maven’s EV drivers this means more access to a quick charge instead of dealing with a four-hour (or longer) juice-up at conventional chargers. EVgo usually sets up stations near grocery stores and gas stations, but for on-demand drivers the stations will be found in more driver-friendly locations, like near airports.
A pilot program with EVgo and Bolt drivers on Maven in seven cities saw a huge response with more people interested in participating in the charging program than the companies had space for in the pilot.
The new dedicated network also means high frequency ride-share drivers might be enticed to switch over to electric — especially if they don’t have to own the car, get free charges, and never buy gas again. The operational costs of driving can be enough to encourage an electric switch.
More than 10 percent of charging on the EVgo public network was ride-share drivers in 2017, hinting that drivers are picking up that electric charge.