How I Used Rideshare to Afford a Tesla Model 3 (You Can Do it Too)

So I’ve got a bit of a background in the field of emerging threats — both as a former military intel analyst and as an editor at Janes Information Group back in the early 2000s. And, in my opinion, the biggest threat facing civilization today is a twofold crisis.

Climate Change and the Failure to Use Clean Energy Crisis

We could easily call this crisis climate change — because these are the effects we see around us in the form of melting glaciers, changing seasonal weather patterns, rising seas and more extreme weather. We could easily call it global warming. Because net energy gain through heat trapping gas increase in the atmosphere is causing the Earth System to warm up.

But that’s just the first side of the problem. The ‘what’s happening’ side. The other side of the problem is systemic. It’s also cultural to a certain extent. And it mainly has to do with how we presently use energy to drive a massive global economic system that supports most of the 7 billion people living on the Earth. More importantly, the driver of the vast majority of the global warming we see (in the range of 80 percent or more) is the direct carbon emission coming from fossil fuel burning and extraction. About thirteen billion tons of heat-trapping carbon comes from this primary source and enters the atmosphere each year.

You could also call the climate crisis a harmful energy crisis. But that misses a bit of the story as well. For back during the 20th Century, competing clean energy sources failed to move to the fore. We knew how to generate energy from the sun and from the wind in a carbon-free manner. And we knew how to store that energy. But, mainly due to the fact that the fossil fuel interests held more political and economic power, these clean energy sources got sidelined. Bringing us to the final way that we could characterize this crisis — the failure to use clean energy crisis.

Setting an Individual Policy for Climate Action

It’s at this point in the discussion that we come down to little ol’ me. What’s my level of responsibility? What can I do as a person to help correct this problem. To not contribute to the failure to use clean energy crisis?


(Optimized for zero emissions. My clean energy Tesla [Clean KITT] recharging at a local solar garage. Planning to purchase a Tesla that’s capable of sucking energy direct from the sun? Get up to 5,000 free supercharger miles through this link.)

This has been a big issue for me for some time. I don’t make a huge amount of money. I’m a writer after all. And my wife works for a not-for-profit. Sure, we are probably better off than some. But when it comes to being able to produce the capital to access 40,000 dollar electric vehicles, or a home where I can charge it in the garage, or the 20,000 dollar plus for solar panels and the other 7,000 dollars or so for energy storage at home, all that stuff may as well have been on the moon with me waiting for an Elon Musk rocket to get me there.

Sure the costs had come down. And sure clean energy was more accessible to me than it was before. But it wasn’t accessible enough. I needed just a little extra push to start to get there.

In all honesty, I really wanted to make the push. As a climate change blogger, I’ve been harassed by anti-clean energy trolls for the better part of 7 years. And you can say what you want, but proving trolls wrong can be a powerful motivator. So I wondered what I could do personally to generate enough capital to afford a primary clean energy platform.

I’m getting a little ahead of myself here. So I’ll just step back and put you in my place during fall of last year. Then, I was looking at a way to individually make a difference for climate change. Sure, we all need to support climate change response policies like Paris, and the Green New Deal. And we, as societies, need to escalate those policies pretty quick if we’re gonna have a real Extinction Rebellion. But as people and individuals, there are things we can do as well to try to correct our failure to use clean energy crisis. We can set our own personal climate policies in place.

For my part, I set a goal to be carbon neutral by 2025. And as a first step, I settled on getting an electric vehicle. I figured I could cut my family carbon emissions on net by about 2 tons per year including all the typical travel my wife and I engage in. But when I started to think about how I could afford something in the range of 35,000 to 40,000 dollars, I stumbled on the notion of rideshare.

Streetfighting Against Climate Change

You see, a local buddy of mine had been Ubering — even as he worked full time as an electrician. He told me that Uber was really flexible (if you decide to rideshare for clean energy, you can help this blog by using my referral code robertf30288ue). Your work hours were entirely yours to control and there was no commute except for the walk out to your car. I decided to look into it. And after a little research, I found that the average income for an Uber driver in D.C. was just short of 20 dollars per hour.

Now you may be smirking at me through your fingers. For a lot of people, 20 bucks an hour isn’t really much at all. But you have to remember that I’m working from a blogger’s/writer’s baseline that is rather short of that. And if I could somehow combine my writing income with an extra 25-30 hours of Uber income, I could make about 2,000 to 2,500 extra each month. This would be more than enough to cover the cost of a new, long-range electric vehicle.

(Paying for a Tesla using rideshare.)

The idea to then rideshare with the EV to multiply my clean energy system usage was a natural follow-on from this notion. Elon Musk had always talked about a master plan to use vehicle autonomy to achieve this kind of clean energy access multiplication on a mass scale. But what if I could use my basic human gumption to accelerate the process by a year or two or three even as I helped to make the local public more aware of how badass clean energy vehicles had become?

By this point, I had a plan. As many of you who have attempted difficult or ambitious plans before know, the major step is not coming up with a decent idea. It’s executing it. So I set out to, for lack of a better phrase, start busting my tail. This meant that I had to temporarily let go of some of my less lucrative work. Those of you who frequent this blog will attest to the fact that I went dark for a number of months. Mia Culpa! But contrary to one of about a bazillion climate change denier memes — those of us who communicate on the issue of climate change all-too-often don’t make minimum wage back for our time.

So I went dark and worked hard. In doing so, I met a lot of people. And aside from the odd Heritage Foundation pick-up (yes we Uber drivers pick up political org folks in D.C.), I’d say 95 percent of the people I talked to about my project were both concerned about climate change and interested in clean energy advancement. In other words, they were supportive of my goal. Plus they were also pretty geeked out about the potential notion of riding Uber in a Tesla.

As I drove, I also became keenly aware of how expensive it was to operate even an efficient internal combustion engine vehicle like a Hyundai Elantra. The cost of gas alone increased for me by about 250 dollars per month. Add in the new 50 dollar monthly oil change, and I began to get an understanding of how much an electric vehicle could save me later (more on this in a future blog).

How You Can Raise Funds for a Clean Energy Vehicle Through Rideshare

Long story short, after busting my tail, I had enough funds to afford a clean energy vehicle by April. I did this by using the rideshare app Uber. And by saving a portion of the profits to invest in a Tesla Model 3. I have now driven 800 miles in this clean machine. Like so many EV converts, I am never going back.

It is here that we get to the nitty-gritty of this post. How can you make enough money to afford a Tesla Model 3 if you’re strapped for cash like I was? One way is to do what I did — use Uber or Lyft part-time and save the profits for an EV purchase a few months down the road. This works well if you can set aside an extra 10 hours or more per week. And if you have the time, then fantastic! I recommend you give it a shot if you want to gain access to the amazing piece of clean tech that is the Tesla Model 3 and help fight climate change in one go.

Uber destination trips

(Uber destination trips allow you to pick up riders and earn money through the app while driving to and from work. This is a great way to optimize time and earn money for a clean energy vehicle. Image source: Uber.)

Many of us do not have an extra 10 hours a week or more, though. So I’m going to make this additional time optimization suggestion for rideshare usage to purchase a clean energy vehicle. And this suggestion includes the nifty little Uber feature called destination trips. What the destination trips feature allows you to do as an Uber driver is to set a way-point, drive to that way-point, and take trips toward that destination as you drive.

If you’re a regular office worker type, who makes a long drive to work and back, this has huge potential benefits. What it can allow you to do is turn your regular daily commute into a money-making endeavor. Just log into Uber in the morning, set your way-point to your office, drive the usual rush hour drive, and pick up a few rides in on the way to work. You’ll make about 15-20 dollars or more in an average rush. On the ride home, repeat. Now you’ve got an extra 150-200 dollars per week in your pocket to work with. Counting in future gas saved, that’s more than enough to cover the monthly payment on a Tesla Model 3 SR+.

Full disclosure, this will probably increase the time it takes to get to and from work. So plan accordingly. However, all the time during the work commute has now become gainful employment in the service of the clean energy transition. Nice! Of course, if you have a short commute, then such a plan is less optimal. But for our long commuters, this optimization will both enable you to make money while commuting and turn the tables on typical transport energy usage to fight climate change.

Not too shabby!

Now I know that I haven’t provided every little detail in my post. So if you have any questions about how to employ rideshare to help you purchase a clean energy vehicle and get you off the fossil fuel pollution wagon, I will be regularly checking the comments section below. So feel free to ask any question that you might have.

Thanks so much for stopping in! For the next blog post, I’ll be talking about Arctic sea ice as we haven’t had an update on that subject here in a while. Kindest regards to you all! And if you want a riddle for a near future blog post/Radio Ecoshock interview topic it’s a word with a hidden meaning: Lucina.

Leave a comment


  1. Hey Robert Getting to carbon neutral via intelligent use of carbon offsets should have been in your arsenal of techniques a while back. It’s certainly not expensive and lately I’ve been buying two years worth to make up for the years I was not offsetting. It’s not a permanent solution …it’s a method to move faster towards a permanent solution by contributing to other larger efforts.

    I’ve been following your posts for years and engaged in the climate change wars online tho the paid trolls seem to have declined.
    Keep up the good work and how about an article on offsets as it’s a way to act immediately.

    From David Suzuki


  2. John S

     /  May 2, 2019

    Welcome back, I’ve missed your work, and btw love the new wheels. Best of luck with your ongoing endeavours.

    Wind, solar push South Australia prices below zero for almost six hours

    This situation arose from a mild autumn day and restricted exports because of maintenance works on the main interconnector, none-the-less. Apparently happening again today.

    …The negative pricing began at 1030 (NEM time which is 10am local time), and continued until 4pm. Prices fell as low as minus $120/MWh and might have been even lower were it not for some charging from the Tesla battery at the Hornsdale Power Reserve and the smaller Dalrymple battery (both of whom were effectively being paid to charge)…

    Liked by 1 person

    • The rolling storage in EVs could provide a mitigation for these low cost times if a vehicle to grid system were put into place. Of course, they could also build more large battery storage plants for rapid response. These steps result in a pretty advanced and responsive power generation system.


  3. Akizora

     /  May 2, 2019

    Hi Robert, good to have you back, I’d like to hear more about how you plan to get to carbon neutral. My electricity comes from a 100% renewable provider, but I have natural gas for my hot water and heat. Guess I would have to replace these systems.


    • If you’re going to be completely carbon neutral for energy in your home, the easiest way is to go all electric and then plug in to renewable power sources. That’s what I plan to do.

      In the meantime, you can become carbon neutral by purchasing carbon offsets as MacDoc notes below. These offsets help to fund clean energy enterprises such as wind, solar and electric vehicles.

      For my part, I am also off-setting by ridesharing a clean energy vehicle.

      Other offsets include contributing to tree planting, organic farming and other land use carbon draw down activities. In addition, eating less meat (particularly red meat) can help as well. Overall, though, I think the most individual bang comes from a complete transition of home and personal transport (bike, electric bike, EV etc) to renewables.

      For me, it has helped to establish a phased plan and to run strategy sessions where I game out how I’m going to take on the next issue. It helps to try to generate a leveraged strategy that builds in multipliers for your effort. For example, if you want to transition to solar, maybe go around your neighborhood and see if there are others moving in the same direction. If so, you can approach a solar provider as a bloc for better bargaining for lower costs due to volume purchasing power.


    • Abel Adamski

       /  May 12, 2019

      At this time it is a little expensive, but investigate Geothermal , Dandelion is a Google “Skunk Works” offshoot that works on increased depth and reduced cross sectional area thus reducing cost and increasing number of suitable sites.


  4. Robert in New Orleans

     /  May 2, 2019

    Aaahhhh, Janes Defense Group!!

    Right now I am channeling Homer Simpson at the doughnut shop.

    When I was I young, I loved to go to the public library and peruse the current issue of Jane’s Fighting Ships for hours on end, until my eyes became too blurry to read with or the library closed. My contemporaries where reading on a basic junior high level, while I was learning the differences between the Kara class and the Kresta II class large anti submarine warfare ships.

    I became a walking encyclopedia (three eyed raven) of Soviet military hardware.

    The good ole days 🙂


  5. wharf rat

     /  May 3, 2019

    Bangladesh orders evacuation of 2.1 million people ahead of Fani

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Robert in New Orleans

     /  May 7, 2019

    Pompeo: Melting sea ice presents ‘new opportunities for trade’

    (CNN)Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday praised the Arctic region — and its rapidly shrinking levels of sea ice — for its economic opportunities, despite continued warnings about the catastrophic effects of climate change.

    One Word: Sociopath


    • mlp in nc

       /  May 7, 2019

      That’s the North American side. This may be the Russian side. It’s easy to get discouraged.
      “Ice Silk Road
      In addition to the Maritime Silk Road, Russia and China are reported to have agreed jointly to build an ‘Ice Silk Road’ along the Northern Sea Route in the Arctic, along a maritime route which Russia considers to be part of its internal waters.[40]

      China COSCO Shipping Corp. has completed several trial trips on Arctic shipping routes, the transport departments of both Russia and China are constantly improving policies and laws related to development in the Arctic,[citation needed] and Chinese and Russian companies are seeking cooperation on oil and gas exploration in the area and to advance comprehensive collaboration on infrastructure construction, tourism and scientific expeditions”.


  7. mlp in nc

     /  May 7, 2019

    ‘Impossible’ research produces 400-year El Niño record, revealing startling changes
    Centuries long seasonal record of El Niños from coral cores. May 6, 2019. U. of New South Wales.

    Dr Freund and her team found there has been an unprecedented increase in the number of El Niños forming in the Central Pacific over the past 30 years, compared to all 30 year periods in the past 400 years.

    At the same time, the stronger Eastern Pacific El Niños were the most intense El Niño events ever recorded, according to both the 100-year long instrumental record and the 400-year long coral record.


  8. 12volt dan

     /  May 9, 2019

    Some new troubling research in climate sensitivity – New climate models predict a warming surge


  9. 12volt dan

     /  May 9, 2019

    Pumped storage ,not a new idea but one that just became a real option.

    Pumped-hydro is one of the best technologies we have for storing intermittent renewable energy, such as solar power, which means these sites could act as giant batteries, helping to support cheap, fully renewable power grids.

    As of now the sites have only been identified by an algorithm, so further on-the-ground research needs to be done. But it was previously assumed there were only limited suitable sites around the world, and that we wouldn’t be able to store enough renewable energy for high-demand times – which this study shows isn’t the case at all.

    Added together, these hundreds of thousands of sites have the potential to store around 22 million Gigawatt-hours (GWh) of energy. It’s more than enough to get the entire planet running on renewables, which is where we want to get to.

    More here


  10. 12volt dan

     /  May 9, 2019

    aahhh found the research here


  11. Robert in New Orleans

     /  May 10, 2019

    The Conversation No One Knows How To Have

    Interesting to see how abrupt climate change is entering the common discussion without being called what it is.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. wharf rat

     /  May 11, 2019


    “Greenland’s 1.71 million square kilometer ice sheet has started prematurely melting. Almost one month ahead of the average melting period for the year, scientists have witnessed large pools and rushing rivers forming across the sheet.”

    Liked by 1 person


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