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HomeTechnologyUber’s posh electric rideshare service is coming to NYC

Uber’s posh electric rideshare service is coming to NYC

Uber is bringing its all-electric luxury rideshare service to its biggest market yet: New York City. The launch will coincide with the rollout of new product features aimed at steering its customers toward greener choices when using Uber.

Uber first launched its Comfort Electric service, in which customers can hail trips in premium priced EVs like Tesla, Polestar, and Ford Mustang Mach-E, in May 2022. And since then, the service has rolled out in 41 cities, the latest now being New York.

The reason Uber hadn’t launched its upscale EV service in the Big Apple before today was that the city imposed a cap on the number of EV ridehail licenses handed out by the Taxi and Limousine Commission. But that cap has now been lifted, essentially opening the floodgates to more electric Uber vehicles.

steering its customers toward greener choices

Uber Comfort Electric is an extension of Uber Comfort, in which riders can request extra legroom, quiet cars, and other amenities that are typically associated with its higher-priced Uber Black service. And it sits alongside the company’s other EV product, Uber Green, which gives drivers an extra fee (usually $1) to use electric vehicles.

One of the major obstacles to more rideshare drivers using EVs is charging availability. To that end, Uber recently announced that it was teaming up with rival rideshare service Revel (the company that used to operate a fleet of electric mopeds but has since pivoted to Tesla Model Ys). Uber drivers that collect rewards through the company’s Uber Pro program will get up to 25 percent off charging fees when using Revel’s massive charging hub in Brooklyn.

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The company is also rolling out a number of the new features that it first announced during its annual product event last summer. The first is Emissions Savings, which is like Uber’s longstanding rider and driver five-star rating system but for carbon emissions. When opening the app, customers will see how much emissions they avoided expelling into the atmosphere by using Uber’s EV ridehail services.

Also, Uber Green and Comfort Electric are being made available to teenagers with authorized Uber accounts. Last year, Uber announced the launch of a new account process for teenagers riding without their parent or guardian present. Now, those teens can hail an electric car instead of a polluting one in select cities.

Uber has set the goal of becoming a “zero-emissions platform” in the US, Europe, and Canada by 2030 — a difficult ambition given that the company classifies its drivers as independent contractors and theoretically can’t force them all to adopt EVs. The company has said it will spend $800 million of its own money to help “hundreds of thousands of drivers in the US, Canada, and Europe transition to battery EVs by 2025.”

The recent slowdown in EV sales growth, as well as the pullback in investments by several major automakers, has been another wrench in Uber’s plans to go emissions-free. Recently, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi penned an op-ed in Fast Company imploring regulators and automakers to speed up the transition to electric vehicles. Otherwise, Uber may not hit its 2030 goal.

“The stark reality is that Uber will not reach our zero-emission goals without stronger action from policymakers and businesses,” Khosrowshahi wrote. “Unfortunately, right at the moment we need to accelerate through the turn, many governments and automakers are slowing down.”

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