Electric vehicles and hybrids are pretty rare in Louisiana. My state has a thriving Tesla community over on Facebook, but I hardly ever experience an EV while taking Uber. I have ridden in a Model S before (it’s how I met my local Tesla community who mostly use Facebook). I’ve seen and rode in other EVs and hybrids during the National Drive Electric Week events in New Orleans and in Gonzales, LA — but that was a year and a half ago, pre-pandemic.
I’ve even been kicked out of a Lexus on the way home from the ER once — the driver said he had kids. I’ve had strange Uber experiences but mostly pleasant ones and Monday evening’s ride was in the latter category — pleasant and educational.
I needed to run to Walmart to get some construction paper, cat food, a king cake, and other odds and ends, and since the skies were threatening to unleash their fury, I decided an Uber would be safer than accidentally getting caught in a flash flood under the Interstate. (Yes, I almost drowned while walking once — it’s Louisiana.)
I noticed on the app that the vehicle was a Toyota RAV4 and realized that this would be my first time riding in a hybrid electric vehicle, and Muhammad, my Uber driver, was very happy to share his story. I explained to him that I write for CleanTechnica and cover EVs and clean energy. He’d never heard of us before but was happy to allow me to interview him.
Muhammad, like me, is a Tesla Cybertruck reservation holder. He explained to me — after I filmed the interview — that he loved Tesla and had his hopes set on one but the pricing for the RAV4 was ideal and met his needs.
I rode in the back seat and it was really nice and roomy. He had the front seat pulled up — it’s a thing most Uber drivers do to visually encourage customers to get in the back — which is wise during these times.
When I asked him what he liked about the hybrid, he said, “gas.” He explained that he has excellent gas mileage and his average gas per gallon is 40/30 in the city. “Oh my God, it’s very good gas mileage,” he told me.
I admit, the interview was a bit unplanned — I wasn’t planning on interviewing random people about cars and my mind was a bit off focus since I was planning some creative things in the back of my mind — which was zooming at 90 miles an hour. However, it provides a little more insight into the mainstream market of Uber drivers and what they think about electric vehicles.
All photos by Johnna Crider