Electric Vehicles in Ride-hailing Applications: Insights From a Fall 2019 Survey of Lyft and Uber Drivers in Los Angeles
Associate Professor at the Institute of Environment and Sustainability and the Department of Urban Planning, University of California, Los Angeles
Electric vehicles are a critical strategy and technology in a sustainable personal transportation infrastructure. This project sought to (1) develop a detailed understanding of the economic realities and constraints that ridesourcing drivers confront and their decision to work in this transportation sector, (2) identify the biggest opportunities for and barriers to electric vehicle adoption amongst ridesourcing drivers, and (3) outline public policies and city-level planning and investments that are needed to overcome key barriers.
The researchers surveyed Lyft and Uber drivers in Los Angeles to better understand their preferences and perceptions of electric vehicles. Focusing the research on the perceptions of Lyft and Uber drivers had several benefits. (1) ridesourcing likely entails a much higher average utilization rate for electric vehicles and so any positive environmental impacts of electric vehicle adoption would be magnified. (2) Drivers of ridesourcing services generally belong to low-to-moderate income households. (3) Ridesourcing companies and automakers are exploring the market for electric vehicles, which makes this a timely research subject area.