Rideshare driving is a popular side-hustle or full-time job.
Driving an electric vehicle may be the best way to maximize your earnings as drivers don’t need to shell out large amounts of money for gas or pay for more common oil changes as a result of higher mileage.
Benjamin Westby, 5th grade teacher and Tesla Model 3 owner, is the President of the Western Colorado EV Club. During his summers off, starting last year, he has begun driving for ridesharing services Lyft and Uber. Aside from being a great way to make some pocket change, Ben has enjoyed exploring the range of his Tesla and chatting with passengers about electric vehicles.
This is the first summer Westby has been rideshare driving full-time. He drives around the Roaring Fork Valley, Grand Junction and Glenwood Springs as these popular, touristy locations often hold more passengers waiting for a ride.
Starting his day around 8 a.m. and ending around dinnertime, Westby has found an efficient schedule that maximizes his work time while giving him time to charge his car and rest.
Upon leaving home with a full charge, Westby plugs in around 10% after driving 200 miles and charges just enough to get home, paying only about $5-$6 every day. With electricity costing around 11 cents per kWh from Xcel Energy, Westby saves hundreds of dollars to “fuel” his car in comparison to the drivers who use gas-powered cars.
Putting it into perspective, he owns a Volkswagen Jetta which gets around 30 mpg (better than many gas-powered cars), and if he were to use this car for rideshare driving, he’d be paying $45 for every 350 miles on top of maintenance costs. With more frequent driving, this means more oil changes ($80 per 8,000 miles) in addition to more general maintenance.
Time is money when you’re a rideshare driver, and setting aside time for routine maintenance is one inconvenience that Westby is happy to be avoiding. The only maintenance he has done for his Tesla was to replace its washer fluid, and he doesn’t expect any major maintenance anytime soon.
Westby loves riding in his Tesla and so do his passengers! They’ve commented on the modern, sleek interior and the quiet, comfortable ride. With features like pre-scheduled air conditioning, frunk (front trunk) space for luggage, a glass sunroof and a large navigation screen that allows his passengers to easily see their route from the backseat, it’s no wonder he has received the “Cool Car” badge from Uber and Lyft as well as high ratings.
As the only EV rideshare driver he’s noticed in his area, Westby has noted an increase in other EV models in his community, indicating EV growth.
Two years ago, his car was one of two Teslas in town, and now, there are about eight total.
Additionally, he’s spotted the Kia Niro EV, Fiat 500e, Chevy Bolts, the Mustang Mach-E and the VW ID.4.
Even though he lives in a more rural area, he’s credited the fast charging corridor infrastructure implemented by the Colorado Energy Office for providing accessible charging in small towns. This allows him to drive to areas that may have been inaccessible in the past and will hopefully encourage other drivers in similar rural areas to adopt an EV.
Westby encourages others to try out rideshare driving in an EV – it’s fun, maximizes your earnings and the more people who get to ride in an EV, the better!
Want to get in touch with Westby? Find him here: