How green is your transport? Uber to rate your rides

Uber will soon score you on more than just conversational skills, also taking into account the environmental credentials of the cars you hail.

The tech giant revealed plans on Tuesday to launch a feature giving riders a glimpse into the carbon emissions they save by choosing electric and hybrid cars rather than petrol or diesel vehicles.

The rating, which will be shown in user accounts, will also translate greenhouse gas savings into real-world equivalents such as garbage kept out of landfill or litres of fuel saved.

The launch comes weeks after the federal government passed Australia’s first fuel-efficiency standard into law in a move expected to bring more EVs into the country, and almost six months after Uber started its first dedicated electric vehicle service in Australia.

Uber Australia and New Zealand sustainability head Anna Brito said the new feature, called Rider Emissions Savings, would be rolled out in countries with electric vehicle options as a way to demonstrate the impact of choosing to ride in low-emission vehicles.

“We wanted something that could help people to not only understand the choices that they can make with their transportation to reduce emissions but also to help incentivise and motivate people,” she said.

“Maybe saying kilograms of CO2 saved doesn’t mean much to people but if you say that’s the equivalent of 20 litres of petrol saved or 50 kilos of garbage diverted from landfill, you start to see the impact of your actions.”

Ms Brito told AAP the estimates were calculated by using the average carbon emissions from Uber’s Green or Comfort Electric services and multiplying them by kilometres travelled.

Early results showed Victorian riders had made the greatest emissions savings on the Uber platform so far, followed by Western Australia, Queensland, NSW, and South Australia.

Uber also revealed it had more than 4000 electric vehicles in its driver fleet, and Australians had taken 1.86 million rides in an electric vehicle between January and March this year.

“We’re now doing more than 20,000 zero-emission rides each day across our platform and I think it’s showing that drivers are hungry for this and they’ve been switching to EVs at quite a fast pace,” Ms Brito said.

“It’s also resonating with riders.”

Uber has previously partnered with electric vehicle brands and finance firms, including BYD and Splend, to encourage drivers to adopt the technology, and last week teamed with BP Pulse to offer discounted car-charging rates.

The Electric Vehicle Council estimates there are more than 180,000 electric cars on Australian roads, including more than 98,000 new EVs purchased last year.

However, experts predict their numbers will grow substantially in 2025 after the federal government introduces the New Vehicle Efficiency Standard that will set emissions limits on passenger and commercial vehicle fleets.


Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson
(Australian Associated Press)


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