Uber introducing new Uber Green ride service, commits $7.5m to accelerate EV adoption in New Zealand

Stock image of person ordering an Uber
But will going green cost more of your hard-earned green? Photo credit: Getty Images

Uber is bringing its cleaner, greener ride option to Aotearoa, allowing eco-conscious Kiwi customers to request hybrid or all-electric rides.

In its announcement on Thursday, the rideshare giant confirmed it will be introducing Uber Green - which is currently offered in 15 countries - to New Zealand in May. The option, which will join the likes of UberX, Uber Comfort and Uber Pet, will give New Zealanders the ability to choose a low or emissions-free ride. 

But will going green cost you more of your hard-earned green? The answer is no. A spokesperson for Uber confirmed to Newshub that Uber Green fares will be priced the same as UberX, the rideshare app's standard service - meaning there's no additional cost for costumers. 

And if you're questioning whether you'll be facing a longer wait for a greener ride, the spokesperson told Newshub they are not expecting any additional delays associated with requesting a low or emissions-free journey, claiming the majority of Ubers in this market are already hybrid or electric vehicles.

"A vast majority of rides in New Zealand already take place in a hybrid or EV, making Green the right next product to launch for New Zealand riders," they told Newshub.

"We expect Uber Green adoption to be easy for consumers who are looking to request a greener ride, without additional cost or wait times."

Additionally, the company has also announced that it's committing $7.5 million to accelerate Aotearoa's transition to electric vehicles, with a new EV subsidy programme for its drivers.

Starting July 1, drivers with fully-electric vehicles will be eligible for a 50 percent discount on their service fees, which are paid to Uber. Under the new initiative, drivers can save up to $5000 per year over two years.

It's hoped the discount will improve the total cost of EV ownership and make them a more attractive option to drivers, as one of the main barriers to stronger uptake is the upfront cost compared to more affordable second-hand hybrids, Dom Taylor, managing director at Uber ANZ, said in a statement.

It's part of Uber's plan to become a zero-emissions platform by 2040.

"As we race toward our 2040 goal of eliminating tailpipe emissions altogether, we're taking action to help even more driver partners go electric," said Taylor. 

"We know one of the greatest barriers to making that switch is the upfront price of EVs. Now, between the Government's EV uptake programmes and our new multi-year incentive for drivers, we're hoping to see a steady stream of EVs come onto the Uber platform in the years ahead. We want to support the transition to EVs and want them to be a practical and economic choice for driver partners. 

"However, to unlock the economic and environmental benefits of electric rideshare, meaningful collaboration is needed between governments and industry."

How to ride with Uber Green

Request: Open the app and enter your destination in the 'Where to?' box. Once you confirm your pickup and destination addresses are correct, select Uber Green at the bottom of your screen. Then tap 'Confirm Green'. Once you've been matched, you'll see your driver's picture and vehicle details and can track their arrival on the map.

Ride: Check the vehicle details match those in the app before getting in. Your driver has your destination and directions for the fastest way to get there, but you can always request a specific route.

Hop out: You'll be automatically charged through your payment method on file, so you can exit your vehicle as soon as you arrive. Remember to rate your driver to help keep Uber safe and enjoyable for everyone.