Posted on April 17, 2018 by Matt Pressman
Electric cars aren't just good for the planet, they're cheaper for those Uber and Lyft drivers out there. For the past two years, Rocky Mountain Institute exhaustively studied and tested the ride-sharing industry in Austin, TX and their findings were surprising. According to Greentech Media, "The rapid growth of transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Lyft, Uber and Ride Austin creates a unique opportunity for vehicle electrification, with benefits to cities, drivers and riders."
Above: For Uber and Lyft drivers, the Tesla Model 3 could prove an excellent option (Instagram: spandexcajun)
So what sort of impact could EVs have on the ride-sharing industry? It's reported that, "In New York and San Francisco, TNC and cab rides account for 19 percent of all local vehicle miles traveled during weekdays. If half of these TNC drivers went electric, they would offset 1.5 billion pounds of carbon from the atmosphere each year and improve local air quality within the city."
And EVs can save ride-sharing drivers serious money too. Not surprisingly, "electric vehicles are also significantly cheaper to operate than gas vehicles... Based on [Rocky Mountain Institute] calculations, full-time TNC drivers working 50 hours a week can save an average of $5,200 per year in total vehicle expenses with an EV as compared to a typical gas vehicle."
Above: Fuel and maintenance combine for $5,200 per year of savings for ride-sharing drivers who choose an EV (Source: Greentech Media)
And it's not just the high cost of gas that saves EV drivers money, "Electric vehicles require much less maintenance than a comparable gas vehicle because they have fewer moving parts. For example, EVs don’t require oil changes, air filters, timing belts, or spark plug replacements, and their regenerative braking systems extend the life of the brakes and rotors."
On the other hand, "EVs generally have a higher upfront price tag than gas vehicles... [so] the cheapest way to obtain an EV is through the used EV market." That said, if you choose to purchase a new EV, "the higher price tag can [often] be offset by the $7,500 federal tax credit and state rebates or incentives."
Above: Comparing lower-priced EVs, Tesla's Model 3 remains an especially compelling option (Source: Greentech Media)
Full-time ride-sharing drivers on average "will drive 136 miles per day." Based on Green Tech Media's comparison chart (above), the Tesla Model 3 looks like an ideal electric vehicle for ride-sharing drivers based on several determining factors. To that end, Tesla may soon offer their own, proprietary ride-sharing solution. Elon Musk has teased a future ride-sharing platform called the Tesla Network. But details remain fuzzy at this stage.
In the end, Rocky Mountain Institute found that, "Full-time drivers who drive more than 40 hours a week can save money by purchasing a new EV." And the savings can go a long way — especially as the years add up. Forget vacillating gas prices, if you just consider the cost of maintenance and repairs, "over five years, the savings total as much as $21,000, as gas vehicles become increasingly more expensive to maintain at higher mileages."
Source: Greentech Media