Matthew Price on bringing electric vehicles to Uber Canada – CB

Canadian business it’s back. From today CB it’s about profiling and connecting innovative leaders who are changing Canada for the better.

CB It provides these leaders, and those who want to learn from them, the resources, networking opportunities, and inspiration to innovate, connect, and continue to challenge the status quo. One of the ways we are doing this is through the Canadian Business Leadership Circle, CBLeaders in Residence program where each month we hire a different C-suite level executive who makes an impact in their field. As part of the program, readers will have the opportunity to connect with these executives for mentoring and professional development through exclusive content, virtual fireside chats, and more.

Our leader in residency this month is Matthew Price, General Manager of Uber Canada. Price spoke with CB on how Uber has adapted new strategies coming out of the pandemic, how the company is leading the charge in the electric vehicle shift, and what’s in store for the future.

How did your career path, which includes your experiences as a strategy consultant advising global Fortune 500 companies, lead you to Uber’s Canadian operations?

Before leading Uber’s Canadian operations, I worked as a strategy consultant at Monitor Group and Monitor Deloitte, studied internationally at INSEAD Business School (France and Singapore), and helped scale Uber in Europe. This diversity of experiences has mattered since I left my comfort zone to learn about myself and narrow the opening to where I want to focus my energies in building a better world. It has been important in terms of developing the skill set necessary to build and lead high performing organizations. And it has been important in terms of exposing me to a diverse set of people and ideas to broaden my perspectives and stimulate creativity and innovation.

How would you describe your vision for Uber Canada as we emerge from the pandemic? How have things changed for the company during COVID-19 and how have they impacted its strategy for the future?

It’s no secret that carpooling slowed down during the pandemic. In fact, we encouraged people to stay home and stay safe while we turned our business around to help move what matters, from dropping off care packages to picking up first responders. But even during this challenging time, COVID-19 did not negatively affect our plans, it spawned new ones. Like many other companies, the pandemic-induced change provided a moment to think about how we could rebuild better. In 2020, when we looked out our windows, we saw many cities breathing cleaner air than ever. For me, that was an opportunity to restart and double down on sustainability.

Last year, Uber pledged to become a zero emissions platform for 2040. How do you plan to get there for Canada?

This is a goal that we cannot achieve alone. We work closely with policy makers and industry partners to help us achieve this goal and create real and lasting change. I always tell my team: reaching zero emissions is a team sport and this is the next frontier of how ridesharing can improve our cities.

For Uber in Canada, we have a few key actions to help us get there. One is expanding Uber Green, our low-emission ride option, to provide consumers with a greener way to travel, experience the magic of electric vehicles (EVs), and support drivers using EVs or hybrid vehicles on the platform. .

The second is to find more ways to help drivers transition to electric vehicles. We are doing this through different associations that incentivize drivers to consider an electric vehicle or help build a better infrastructure for its use. The last key piece of our work is investing in a multimodal network. You may have seen when opening the Uber app that you can select a Lime scooter in some markets or check the routes in local transit. We hope to do more here to promote green alternatives to personal cars.

Where do you see the greatest barriers to achieving this goal?

Making electricity mainstream is a huge barrier. In the past, only a fraction of households, generally wealthier, have been able to afford electric vehicles and could buy an electric vehicle as their second or third vehicle. But beyond cost, and even now, there are many other challenges and factors that come into play, including when to buy inventory access and ease of loading.

How important is building partnerships with municipal governments in the cities where Uber operates?

It is vital to our day-to-day business, but also to meeting our future goals and objectives. To put this in perspective, let’s take the example of multimodal transportation. Earlier this month, we launched a new product in Ontario called Uber + Transit. If a user enters the app and enters a destination, Uber + Transit will display an Uber X ride to the closest transit stop, followed by instructions on how to get to the final destination using public transit. This is an affordable and greener travel option for our consumers that is currently integrated into all GTA public transportation. But integrations like this are impossible without partnerships with municipal transit agencies.

What current and future Uber Canada initiatives are you getting excited about?

I am excited about the challenge ahead of us in reaching our sustainability goals. We did a recent survey of drivers in Canada and found that 71 percent are interested in switching to an electric vehicle. Finding ways to make this possible is a great opportunity for us. A few weeks ago, we did an ad with Greenlots, a member of the Shell Group, to create three new charging stations in Vancouver. This marks Uber’s first North American partnership designed to increase access to electric vehicle charger exclusively for Uber drivers and deliverymen in public areas.

The stations will open in January 2022 and offer discounted rates to make public charging more affordable than charging at home. We hope this project will act as a pilot and model that can be replicated across Canada and around the world to help accelerate the transition to electric vehicles. Innovative partnerships like these are how we will achieve our goals.

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