The Road Ahead: Uber Tests Electric Cars

Uber drivers in Chicago are now using electric cars. There is a fleet of 25 of BYD e6 EV currently in operation on the street. Uber has developed a connection with “Build Your Dream,” (BYD Co. Ltd.): a rechargeable battery supplier based in China and the cars are being distributed straight to Green Wheels, an auto-dealership in Chicago. The move is popular but requires slow moving pieces to gain traction globally.

These electric cars serve as a testament to Uber’s cutting edge business model of efficiency that allow the user to request a cab from their phone and not struggle through their wallets for fare or tip. The move to energy efficient vehicles follows hand-in-hand with the company’s interest in popular trends, but may not be so efficient logistically.

According to the Uber website:, UberBlack drivers are required to drive a black sedan, town car or crossover SUV that comfortably seats four. The required cars often have low gas mileage, though in the form of an electric car may mean much less carbon footprint, but more searching for recharging stations.

Because drivers generally own the cars they drive, Green Wheels has the option of renting the cars for $200 a week, or signing up a lease-to-own program. If an Uber driver is making $56,000 a year, or about $27 an hour, as Business Insider suggests the cost is doable, but stretching.

Though, we may not be seeing electric cars throughout Uber’s 55 counties and over 200 cities. Installation is a minimum of $500 in personal homes, according to Doug Snower, a representative at Green Wheels, and there are only about 10 locations in the Chicago area to recharge, where the property owners are generally required to pay for installation as well.

However, the move is hopeful. Uber is one of the most successful cab services in history, and people are watching the moves it makes. If charging stations are the issue “they are always adding more,” Mr. Snowder adds.