Toronto is considering a proposal to require all rideshare drivers to use electric vehicles. However, an environmental agency and academics say that the city needs to focus on upgrading the charging infrastructure in high-rise, multi-unit buildings where many drivers live. Research shows that many rideshare drivers are low-income earners or new immigrants who live in apartments that need electric chargers. The city’s Economic and Community Development Committee has already adopted a proposal to transition the vehicle-for-hire industry to net-zero emissions by 2030, but the lack of charging infrastructure makes it difficult to achieve this without further investment. Rideshare drivers are concerned about the lack of chargers and the time it takes to charge a vehicle. The city amended a zoning bylaw in December 2021 to require residential parking spaces in apartments or condos to have an outlet for charging electric vehicles. The Atmospheric Fund launched a program to support implementing electric chargers in the GTA and Hamilton, and there has been overwhelming demand from building owners. The focus on buildings with rideshare drivers is crucial because they drive more than the average commuter, and electrifying their rides will save money and reduce carbon emissions. Challenges include consulting with condo boards and educating building owners on the benefits of investing in electric vehicle infrastructure. Uber also supports the proposal but says it will be difficult to achieve without significant action from all levels of government. The city is seeking feedback from residents to understand their charging infrastructure needs and is considering making electric vehicle adoption easier for low-income families.
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