Uber has a few interesting electric vehicle initiatives, like an all-electric fleet pilot project with 20 Nissan LEAFs in London and they deployed a fleet of Tesla Model S in Madrid, but now they are bringing their first EV program stateside.
The company will help drivers purchase or lease electric vehicles. They are starting the program in Portland, Oregon, but hopefully, they expand the program to other markets.
Not only it will bring more electric vehicles on the road directly through drivers, but they will also incentivize drivers to educate riders about EVs through an “EV Ambassador program”.
It’s especially important when you consider that the lack of awareness is surprisingly still the biggest problem for electric vehicle adoption.
Uber says that the Portland metro area already had a higher percentage of Uber drivers with electric vehicles (100 out of ~6,000), but they aim to “add hundreds more.”
Here are the key initial elements of the program:
They partnered with Drive Oregon, a non-profit organization promoting EVs, in order to build the program.
Uber describes the EV Ambassador program:
“Part of Uber’s new initiative will be opportunities for drivers to serve as EV Ambassadors, a role in which they will help educate riders about the environmental and economic benefits and feasibility of electric vehicles. Drivers interested in participating are invited to share their name and contact information on a new microsite. Drive Oregon will train EV Ambassadors on how to effectively communicate with riders about the benefits of electric vehicles. In the first four months of Uber’s London electric vehicle pilot, 60 EVs gave rides to more than 35,000 riders.”
They will tailor the program to Oregon, which offers a lot of EV incentive, and they will also promote local EV manufacturer Arcimoto. I had a chance to test their all-electric three-wheeler in Las Vegas earlier this year.
Overall, it looks like a force for good to promote EVs. Hopefully, they expand this to other markets soon.
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Tesla is diving into the trucking industry.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Thursday said the company would unveil a semitruck in September and a pickup truck in 18 to 24 months.
"Tesla Semi truck unveil set for September," Musk wrote on Twitter. "Team has done an amazing job. Seriously next level."
This isn't the first time we've heard Tesla express interest in building a semitruck. Musk first announced the semitruck project in his "Master Plan, Part Deux," released in July.
"We believe the Tesla Semi will deliver a substantial reduction in the cost of cargo transport, while increasing safety and making it really fun to operate," Musk wrote in the plan.
Musk said in February that the company was making progress on its semitruck. Jerome Guillen, Tesla's vice president of programs, is leading the company's semitruck product.
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On March 11, utility-scale solar generation in the territory of the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) accounted for almost 40% of net grid power produced during the hours of 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. This is the first time CAISO has achieved these levels, reflecting an almost 50% growth in utility-scale solar photovoltaic installed capacity in 2016. The large and growing amount of solar generation has occasionally driven power prices on the CAISO power exchange during late winter and early spring daylight hours to very low, and sometimes negative, prices. However, consumers in California continue to pay average retail electricity prices that are among the highest in the nation.
Utility-scale solar generation includes solar photovoltaic (PV) systems as well as a few solar thermal plants. Additional generation from customer-sited solar generators installed in California (such as those on residential and commercial rooftops) further adds to the total solar share of mid-day electricity generation, while displacing demand for power from the grid. As of December 2016, utilities in CAISO reported 5.4 gigawatts (GW) of net-metered distributed solar capacity. (EIA reports installed electric capacity data in alternating current terms, which are typically 10% to 30% lower than the direct current capacities sometimes reported for PV systems.) EIA estimates that this capacity would have generated approximately 4 million kilowatthours (kWh) during the peak solar hours on March 11. This level of electricity reduced the metered demand on the grid by about the same amount, suggesting that the total solar share of gross demand probably exceeded 50% during the mid-day hours.
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