Uber Can Now Access Drivers' Tesla Accounts and Give Rides Based on the Car's Real Range

Tesla drivers riding for Uber can now connect their vehicles to the Uber app and have rides assigned based on the car's remaining battery range. This way, they can avoid trips longer than their car can complete without stopping to charge.
Uber can now access drivers' Tesla accounts 6 photos
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Uber can now access drivers' Tesla accountsUber can now access drivers' Tesla accountsUber can now access drivers' Tesla accountsTesla Model 3 InteriorUber App User
How many times did you order an Uber and notice that the EV arriving at the pickup point had less battery than it needed to reach the destination? Based on how many people tell such stories on social media, this happens quite often. And it will happen a lot more often in the future as more Uber drivers switch to electric vehicles.

This is a problem not only for people who order a ride but also for drivers. Having to stop at a charging station to top up the battery when your client is in a hurry is annoying, to say the least. Now, Uber found a solution to avoid these embarrassing situations, at least for drivers who own a Tesla. They can directly connect the Uber app with their Tesla account, giving Uber access to the battery's state of charge. This way, the Uber app will filter out rides beyond the car's range.

"Say goodbye to range anxiety," the Uber app says. "Connect your vehicle to share your battery level with Uber. Then you'll receive trips shorter than your remaining range."

The new feature was discovered by Tesla enthusiast and former Uber driver Sofiaan Fraval, who shared screenshots from the app on Twitter. Before you express your privacy concerns, we must say that access to the Tesla account is enabled only if the user allows it. More specifically, the "Share your vehicle data" toggle within the Uber app must be active to give Uber access to the Tesla account. The Uber app also clarifies which permissions it uses to know the state of charge in real time. These are limited to the car's VIN, make, model, and year, besides the EV battery level.

Based on what Sofiaan discovered, the new feature is not offered because of a high-level partnership between Tesla and Uber. Instead, Uber uses Smartcar, a car API platform that connects with the Tesla API. The platform is widely used by car-sharing companies, including Turo, Recurrent, and now Uber, to Track a vehicle's location, verify mileage, charge an EV, share a virtual key, and more. The system doesn't need aftermarket hardware such as OBD-II dongles and relies instead on the embedded cellular modem built into most EVs.

Based on the information on Smartcar's website, the API is compatible with 36 vehicle brands, so this should work for other EV brands besides Tesla. It is not clear whether the system is aware of the charging stations' positions. Even if the driver gets a ride well within the remaining range of their EV, it's not very useful if the ride ends in an area with no charging possibilities and a depleted battery.

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About the author: Cristian Agatie
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After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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