Evaluating Barriers to Electrifying Vehicles Used for Ride-hailing from a Driver’s Perspective

Research Team: Angela Sanguinetti (lead) and Ken Kurani

University: UC Davis

Problem Statement: California Senate Bill 1014 establishes a “clean miles standard” requiring transportation network companies (TNCs), such as Uber and Lyft, to reduce emissions from their ride- hailing operations. TNCs can reduce emissions by increasing the share of trips provided by zero- emissions vehicles and by increasing the use of pooled services in which riders share vehicles with strangers. Electrifying vehicles used for ride-hailing has the potential for significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Considering the high number of miles traveled by vehicles used for ride- hailing, substituting plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) in place of conventional vehicles may reward TNC drivers with greater net cost savings; however, drivers may be deterred from purchasing a PEV due to the higher purchase price, limited range, and charging requirements.

Project Description: Successfully electrifying the ride-hail industry calls for engagement with TNC drivers to (a) understand barriers to PEV adoption, (b) identify charging infrastructure needs, and (c) identify characteristics of drivers likely to adopt PEVs with and without additional incentives. In a previous study, the research team conducted the largest study to-date of TNC PEV drivers in North America. In partnership with Uber, all PEV drivers on the Uber platform in the United States and Canada were invited to participate in a survey that addressed five main topics: 1) characteristics of TNC PEV drivers; 2) the make and model of PEVs they drive and how they acquired the vehicle; 3) motivations to drive a PEV for ride-hailing purposes; 4) ride-hail driving and PEV charging behaviors; and 5) recommendations from drivers on how to better support the use of PEVs for ride-hailing. For this project, the research team will analyze the survey results in order to identify key questions and concerns drivers have in regard to using BEVs for ride-hailing, and identify actions that can be taken in order to garner support among drivers for meeting TNC electrification goals.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $49,984

Project Partner(s): California Air Resources Board, California Energy Commission, and California Public Utilities Commission, Uber