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SMUD Teams Up With Uber To Expand Use Of Electric Vehicles

Richard Vogel / AP Images

In this Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016, file photo, a driver displaying Lyft and Uber stickers on his front windshield drops off a customer in downtown Los Angeles.

Richard Vogel / AP Images

Using an electric vehicle to shuttle people around the Sacramento area could make being an Uber driver a lot more profitable as part of a new partnership with SMUD.

Drivers who sign up for the 18-month, pilot program will get free charging at SMUD's network of high-speed charging stations.

In addition, they'll also get $1.25 from SMUD and 25 cents from Uber for each completed trip.

Some drivers are reluctant to use electric vehicles because of the lost time it takes to charge, when they could be driving.

Lupe Jimenez manages electric transportation for SMUD and says the new partnership has several objectives.

"Uber's goals are to increase the total number of electric miles driven by Uber drivers and ultimately reduce the number of vehicles on the road," Jimenez said. 

Jimenez says SMUD too hopes to see that achieved.

"But as part of this process, we also want to understand what incentives truly do motivate our transportation network company drivers to drive electric," she said. 

Those who participate must first complete an educational component on electric vehicles, so they can share the information with passengers who ask about their cars.

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